The Scriptures were written by people who felt the same desires and faced the same discouragements as we do. They too were dismayed at times by their circumstances. They knew what it was like to cry out to a silent God, to come to the end of themselves, and to feel their emotions going “over the edge.” Yet the people of the Bible are important to us because they lived long enough to recover their sense of joy and confidence in God.
As we struggle through our own fears and disappointments, we can find renewed hope by using their thoughts as a reflection of our own hearts and prayers. Psalm 42 is a good example. With a thirsty, downcast soul, the author cried out to the Lord and expressed the honest emotions of his heart until he rediscovered truths he had forgotten.
First we will quote a verse, then we’ll show how you might pray, based on what the verse says:
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1-2).
Lord, those words express how empty I feel. I feel so dry and tired and weak from running. My strength is gone. I don’t know how much longer I can go on. If You don’t help me I’m not going to make it. I
know that someday I will stand before You. But I long to hear from You now. What do You want from me? What do You want me to do?
“My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’” (v.3).
Father, I do wonder where You are and why You aren’t helping me. I’ve been so open in the past about trusting You. But now I feel uncomfortable when I’m with people who have heard me talk about how faithful and trustworthy You are.
“I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise” (v.4).
Things used to be so different, Lord. I used to enjoy You in the presence of Your people. We laughed and prayed together. Yet now I feel so alone. Those times of joy seem so far away.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (v.5).
Yes, Father, I too know better. As I listen to my own complaint, I know deep inside that You can still be trusted. I do know that it is right to keep on trusting You. Like the psalmist, I even believe that in Your wisdom, and at the right time, You will help me. I know I will laugh again. I know the day is coming when I will praise You. O Lord, how I long for that day.
“The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life” (v.8).
I do believe that the day is coming when You will again let me experience Your kindness. I believe that You will once again give me songs in the night.
“I will say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning?’” (v.9).
Father, even though I know You will help me, my fears keep coming back over me like waves. In spite of my faith in You, and even though I know You are my rock and my hiding place, I still feel so forgotten and alone. Why do You have to let me, Your child, spend my time mourning rather than praising You?
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (v.11).
Yes, I will yet praise You, Lord. You are my only hope. I praise You for Your goodness. Forgive me for doubting You. I will wait for You. I will wait for You to restore my joy!
BIBLE PASSAGES TO PRAY THROUGH WHEN:
• In Danger: Psalm 91
• Depressed: Psalm 34,139
• Worried: Philippians 4
• Facing A Crisis: Psalm 121
• Discouraged: Psalm 23,42; Isaiah 40
• Tempted: Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 10
• Lonely: Psalm 27
• Needing Courage: Joshua 1
• Seeking Forgiveness: Psalm 32,51
• In Doubt: Hebrews 11
• Needing Assurance: Romans 8; 1 John 5
• Thankful: Psalm 136
• Joyful: Psalm 100