Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.Psalm 4:1, Christian Standard Bible
Prayer is relationship.
Two people are friends or family or lovers. How does their relationship grow? There are acts of kindness and the giving of gifts, but there also must be words. If we don’t communicate with someone, then we don’t really have a relationship with that person.
And in relationships there are emotions.
We are not meant to be stoic in our relationships. We don’t act on mere reason doing, simply, what we think we must. There are highs and lows, longings, joys, hurts, and passions.
Our relationship with God is much the same. Only, from our side we look at him through imperfect emotions and from his side he looks at us through perfection. Our sight is limited. We don’t see clearly. Sometimes we don’t see at all. We know we are meant to have confidence and joy but sometimes we feel angst.
We see this in Psalm 4. David trusts in God but also, in some ways, feels far from God. He knows that God has his good in mind, but he also feels angst from the hurt he has experienced. He wrote of joy but he also wrote of anger.
He almost seemed concerned that God might not hear him. So he cried out and asked for God to hear his prayer.
Our relationship with God will have the same ups and downs. For, again, we see and experience imperfectly. So, what do we do when God feels far away? What do we do when our emotions seem drained? What do we do when we feel anger in the moment?
We cry out. We call to God, the one who vindicates, the one who frees, the one who shows grace. We cry out and we keep crying out. We continue to pursue and build that relationship since, after all, God has already pursued us in Christ.