CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
by Wayne S. Walker
“Then I called upon the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!'” (Psalm 116:4). God is our Creator. However, is not like the “clockmaker” who simply builds the clock, winds it up, and then impassively watches it run down. He loves His entire creation, especially mankind, and taking an interest in all our affairs, most particularly our souls, He cares about us and invites us to call upon Him.
Christians, that is, those who through His Son Jesus Christ have become His spiritual children, are given the privilege of calling upon the Lord in prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-9). While God has not promised that He will always give us the answer that we want, He has promised that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people.
Those who have not yet become Christians, and are thus not God’s spiritual children, are not offered the privilege of prayer. God may well choose to listen to them, but He has not promised to answer. The way in which those who are outside of Christ call upon the Lord is by obeying His commandments revealed in scripture to meet His conditions for salvation from sin. Saul of Tarsus was told, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul was lost in sin. He called upon the Lord to wash away His sin by arising and being baptized.
There is one word of warning. God wants everyone to call upon Him. However, sometimes those who are living in rebellion to Him will find themselves in some situation where they feel “at the end of their rope” and will “call upon the Lord.” If they are truly repentant and will fully turn to the Lord, this is great. Yet for some, it is merely a “grasping at straws” with no real intention of obeying the Lord and living for Him afterwards. Here is what the Bible says about that. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).