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Lamentations 3:8

8. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.

8. Etiam si clamem et vociferer, clausit precationem meam (vel precatioi meae.)

 

The Prophet describes here the extremity of all evils, that it availed him nothing to cry and to pray. And yet we know that we are called to do this in all our miseries.

“The strongest tower is the name of the Lord, to it will the righteous flee and shall be safe.” (Proverbs 18:10.)

Again,

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(Joel 2:32.)

And Scripture is full of testimonies of this kind; that is, that God graciously invites all the faithful to himself:

“He shall call upon me, and I will hear him.” (Psalm 91:15.)

“In the day when I call, answer me speedily.”
(Psalm 102:2.)

“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24.)

In short, there is no need to collect all the passages; but we may be content with this one thing, that when God claims to himself this prerogative, that he answers prayers, he intimates that it is what cannot be separated from his eternal essence and godhead; that is, that he is ready to hear prayer. And hence the Psalmist concludes,

“To thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:3.)

When, therefore, Jeremiah complains that his prayers were in vain, and without any fruit or effect., it seems strange and inconsistent. But we know that God holds the faithful in suspense, and so hears as to prove and try their patience, sometimes for a long time. This is the reason why he defers and delays his aid.

It is no wonder, then, that God did not hear the prayers of his servant, that is, according to the judgment of the flesh. For God never rejects his own, nor is he deaf to their prayers and their sighs; but the faithful often speak according to what the flesh judges. As, then, the Prophet found that he obtained nothing by prayer, he says that his prayer was shut out, or that the door was closed against him, so that his prayer did not come to God.

Now, this passage is worthy of special notice; for except God immediately meets us, we become languid, and not only our ardor in prayer is cooled but almost extinguished. Let us, then, bear in mind, theft though God may not help us soon, yet our prayers are never repudiated by him; and since we see that the holy fathers experienced the same thing, let us not wonder, if the Lord at this day were to try our faith in the same manner. Let us, therefore, persevere hi calling on Him; and should there be a longer delay, and our complaint be that we are not heard, yet let us proceed in the same course, as we shall see the Prophet did. It follows, —

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