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When Life is Out of Control… How Should We Pray?

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

Have the circumstances of life got you down? Are you overwhelmed? What grief are you experiencing, what anxiety, or anguish? Do you feel that God has forsaken you? Does it seem your prayers are unanswered?

Sometimes we feel like shouting out Christ’s cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But then we realize how foolish it is to compare our suffering with that of Jesus and we swallow our words. But David did not seem to hold back his emotions in the thirteenth Psalm.

Psalm 13:1-4 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

If we cannot express our heart to God, to whom can we speak? He already knows our thoughts. He knows our circumstances. We should be honest with Him and pour out our emotions humbly to Him in prayer. He is the one that can change our circumstances, although often His plan is to change us! Can we expect Him to work on our behalf if we are not honest and open when we speak to Him? After David pours out his heart to God, there is a key change in the middle of the Psalm. Verses 5 and 6 sound very different from the first verses:

Psalm 13:5-6 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Here we see that David has made a decision to trust God’s goodness in his situation. We must take that step of faith, also. Trust God in the midst of the trial. Trust in His love and mercy, His character and wisdom. Then we choose as David, to sing the praises of God. If we follow the example of the Psalmist, we will rejoice in our times of testing!