Each week we’ll be providing prompts for praying the psalm preached the previous Sunday. Start with Pastor Josh’s blog post covering Three Ways to Pray the Psalms.
What do you do when you come across hard times? Who do you talk to? How do you talk about it with them? For many of us this season has most certainly been a hard time. The fear of the coronavirus, the loneliness of social isolation, the anxiety of financial instability, the pain of losing loved ones.
During hard times, our heavenly Father speaks to us through the Psalms and then, incredibly, we are invited to make those words our own. God uses the Psalms to teach us how we might respond back to God.
In the midst of this present crisis, psalms of lament like Psalm 102 teach us what to do with all of our pain and confusion. We lay it all before God. Not just as requests for relief, but as an honest outpouring of the heart. We bring our frustrations and our anguish and our messiness to the Lord, knowing that with him we don’t have to pretend like we have it all together.
I invite you to pray with me through Psalm 102 using the prompts below. God our Father is listening, and like a good father, he cares deeply about our hurts and our pains.
1Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
2Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
In hard times, we turn to God first and foremost, asking him to hear our prayer, knowing that it is his ear and his answer that truly matter.
Cry out to God, asking him to hear you.
3For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
4My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
5Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
6I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places
Maybe, like the psalmist, you are going through physical pain, emotional turmoil, spiritual grief, or isolation. Whatever it is, however big it seems, take it before God.
Talk to God specifically about what’s going on, how it makes you feel, how these things are affecting your heart.
9For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
10because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
The brokenness we see in the world comes as a result of sin, whether it’s directly as a result of our own sin, or from the sins of the world as a whole. God is righteously angry with sin and the pain we feel is the pain of his displeasure.
Lament sin. Confess your own sins. Acknowledge that this is not the way things are supposed to be. Express a desire for this world to be aligned with God’s will.
12But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
16For the Lord builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.
Yet, in spite of our sin, God shows mercy to us. He does this as one who is enthroned forever; the everlasting one. Because of who he is, we have faith that he has not abandoned his promise, that he listens to the prayers of the destitute, that he has pity on us. God answers his prayers, often in ways far greater than we could ever have imagined.
Praise God for who he is. Glorify him for being far greater than all other things. Praise God for keeping his promises. Place your hope in God’s deliverance. Express trust in God’s plan. Thank God for sending Christ, something far greater than we could have hoped for.