Our Daily Bread has an insightful lesson on Psalm 77, in which Asaph unloads his anguish onto God. Asaph has been praying for God to help him in his distress, but is not seeing the fruits of his prayer made manifest. He wonders if God no longer hears him or has changed from the gracious God that Asaph knew in former days.
I cry out loud to God—
out loud to God so that he can hear me!
During the day when I’m in trouble I look for my Lord.
At night my hands are still outstretched and don’t grow numb;
my whole being refuses to be comforted. (Psalm 77:1-2, CEB)
In the lesson, the Ray Stedman makes the somewhat radical argument that prayer is not the first thing we should do when in trouble. After all, God is not a vending machine in the sky, where you press the button for the item you want and receive it. Stedman notes the diminishing faith in Asasph when his prayers go unanswered. In his desperate situation, Asasph does not eventually receive hope through prayer, but through meditation on the very character of God. By the end of the chapter he is singing praises about the nature of God. Stedman concludes that we start not first with prayer, but with meditation on the immutable character of God.