Sunday, February 11, 2018

Prayer practices from the Psalms

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Numbers 8-10; Psalm 42

TO CHEW ON: "Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance - Psalm 42:5

In these two Psalms (42 & 43) we see a person who is praying from a place of deep distress. I love it that Bible writings like this show us that people who lived back in Bible times were a lot like us. They felt discouraged, intimidated, depressed, overwhelmed, and very needy. But this Son of Korah wasn't content to stay in that dark place. These psalms are his prayers and they illustrate some excellent prayer practices.
  • He tells God how much he needs Him and why - Psalm 42:1,2. His need seems to be based in part on the scorn of people around him. Those mockers point out that God hasn't come to his rescue so maybe He doesn't even exist. Our Son of Korah tells God about this - Psalm 42:3,10.
  • He remembers the good times of going to 'church' with the multitudes (Psalm 42:4) and the nation's history with God (Psalm 42:6) and in this way bolsters his faith.
  • He talks to his discouraged self. Three times he repeats self-talk that begins with "Why are you cast down, O my soul…(Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5). A sidebar article about these verses says:
"…he refocuses himself on the promises of God, confronts the fears and contradictions deep in his soul, and challenges himself about every semblance of unbelief in his heart …. Faith comes alive by hearing the truth so the psalmist seems to be preaching to himself being renewed in hope as he reviews who God really is" - David Bryant, "Preparing Yourself to Pray," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 720.
  • He puts into words what he wants—exactly what he envisions God will do for him:
- Show him lovingkindness - Psalm 42:8.
- Replace his anxious nighttime thoughts with songs and prayers - Psalm 42:8.
- Set him free from the schemes of deceitful, unjust men - Psalm 43:1.
- Send His truth and light as direction for living - Psalm 43:3.
- Bring him back to church with songs of praise - Psalm 43:4,5.
Maybe we should embrace some of these practices in our own lives. We could:
- Talk to God with brutal honesty—telling Him about our troubles and how much we need him.
- Talk to ourselves, repudiating our feelings with the truth of who God is and His promises to us.
- Recall how God has helped us in the past.
- Express in detail what we'd like God to do for us.

Dear God, sometimes I feel a lot like the Sons of Korah. Please help me to remember these prayer practices and use them. Amen.


MORE: Who is God? What are His promises?

"…Faith comes alive by hearing the truth so the psalmist seems to be preaching to himself being renewed in hope as he reviews who God really is," says our Bible commenter. What is the truth about God? What are His promises?

One of the best ways I've found to remind myself of who God is and what His promises are is to recall / recite Bible verses I have memorized. Verses like:

Exodus 14:14
Isaiah 54:10
Hosea 6:3
Matthew 7:7,8
Philippians 4:5,7

What verses would you suggest?


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.


  1. One of my favourites is Romans 15;13 - Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Thank you for sharing practical suggestions that I know will help me for sure, Violet.

  2. Love that verse, Mary! Need to remember to do the practical things myself.


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