When the psalmists sung and when Job tussled with the sovereignty of God, they conversed not in mere acquiescence. Prayer is inquisitional.
|Inquisitional||inquiring deeply or searchingly|
|of a harsh, difficult, or prolonged questioning|
In using the word ‘inquisitional’ in description of prayer, i mean simply these two things:
- to acknowledge and respond (in silence, word, or action) to the difficult questions God poses to us, and
- to pose questions that probe the depths of the will, ways, and character of God.
Job, we know, faced a most famous inquisition at the hand of God. He was hammered with a harsh, difficult, and prolonged questioning.
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? [Job 38:4]
Have you commanded the morning since your days began … ? [Job 38:12ff]
Have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? [Job 38:17]
Where is the way to the dwelling of light? [Job 38:19]
Have you entered the treasury of snow … ? [Job 38:22]
Can you loose the belt of Orion? [Job 38:31]
Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’? [Job 38:35]
Who has put wisdom in the mind? [Job 38:36]
This continues for another three chapters …
Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? [Job 39:1]
Have you given the horse strength? [Job 39:19]
Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? [Job 40:2]
Have you an arm like God? [Job 40:9]
Who then is able to stand against Me? [Job 41:10]
Job is silenced — humbled. Remember, inquisitional prayer is humbling prayer. And, you? Have you let God search your soul?
The aim of inquisition is searching and seeking. God searches the recesses of our darkened hearts and we search the deeps of all He is. In doing this, we are bound tighter and nearer — One to the other.
As we read through the psalms, we find that the psalmists rightly position themselves before the Almighty Creator — the LORD. In recognition of their humanity, in humility, they pray (literally, ‘ask’) that God might answer. They come to God, not as ones who consider themselves superior in any way, but simply as recipients of those things given by their good and gracious Father. Consider the following prayers of the psalmists:
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? [Psalm 22:1]
And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. [Psalm 39:7]
Have you not delivered my feet from falling … ? [Pslam 56:13]
How long will you attack a man? [Psalm 62:3]
Whom have I in heaven but You? [Psalm 73:25]
How long, LORD? [Psalm 89:46]
Indeed, these are prayers birthed of a humble heart and a longing.
Inquisitional prayer is humbling prayer.
Declarations, statements, and certainties founded upon our own variation of what we might consider true or right, may well lead us to thoughts of self-sufficiency and pride; yet, questions, wonderings, awe, and supplication breed an attitude of humility and dependence on God — the Omniscient One. This kind of prayer has the power to usher us into the truths and righteousness of God, even as we might little comprehend it.
I challenge you this: Change your language of prayer. For at least one full week of your conversational time with God, change your language. Ask questions. Make requests. Stop stating. Stop demanding. Consider this: How often do we say “I pray that …” or “God, take/give/remove/renew/help/etc …”? And, how rarely are we found imploring “Father, will you …?”, “Lord, when might you …?”, or “O God, why do You …?” Begin asking these questions. Make these requests. This may seem a subtle change, but I am certain you will find it a rewarding challenge. Please, do this and see if you are not humbled. See if you do not begin to rest in the beautifully simple graces and mercies of God that surround us each day. See if your attitude towards prayer is not changed.
I ask of you these things: Have you ever considered the posture of prayer? Have you silenced yourself enough to listen for the answer you long to know? Do you know the questions you most long to ask? What has kept you from asking the difficult questions of God? Have you experienced wonder in recent days? Have you embraced it? What has kept you from hearing the difficult questions God asks of you? Can you faith the unknown and simply ask what your heart longs to know?
From when we first broke this bond with God, this relationship has been riddled with inquisitiveness as we search the way back. Ask, seek, knock, and I am certain the answers will ultimately lead you to the one true Answer — Jesus.
|Reflect On||Job 38-41|
|Praise God||that He is.|
|Offer Thanks||for the blessings in the unknown.|
|Confess||any insincerity, pride, or entitlement you might embrace through prayer.|
|Ask God||the difficult questions.
|Comment:||What questions are you asking God today?|
Other posts in this Prayer series:
Now This Is Prayer • Difficult Prayer • Dangerous Prayer • Wild Prayer • Revolutionary Prayer • The Sin of Prayerlessness