Sometimes in life things do not go as planned. We are trying to serve God and life seems to be going backwards instead of forward. Maybe the wheels seem to be coming off of a close relationship. Maybe we face a sudden health or financial crisis. It may be that we feel like God is calling us to do something and right now it just looks like we are banging our head against the wall.
There is a story in the Bible that might give you some encouragement. We read the story of a person like King David and we forget the journey that he went on to get there. He is anointed as king; so in other words it was God’s plan for him to be king. He kills Goliath and becomes a great warrior. He is friends with the king’s son and marries the king’s daughter.
But then life seems to turn to shambles. The king is trying to kill him. How would you feel if the military of your country was trying to capture you? He is on the run and must leave his close friend and wife behind. Then he gets the idea to go to the Philistines and hide there. Ultimately this would be a good plan, but the first time he goes to the king the only way to get out of there alive is to pretend to be crazy. I think that qualifies as a bad day.
Yet there is encouragement for us in this story. At the time that this is happening David writes Psalm 34 which gives us a backdrop for how to deal with these times in our life. It is even cool because each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Now there is way more in this chapter than we can cover here but let me give you 4 things to help you with your prayer life during these times.
Turn your attention to who God is no matter what is happening.
It is easy during times of distress to lose perspective. David begins this psalm with praise to God. Throughout the psalm we are reminded that even in the difficult times of our life God is still in control of the universe. He is still on the throne and worthy of our worship. This will help us adjust our view of our current struggles.
Check your heart for any issues you need to deal with in this moment.
David is not for a moment suggesting that people should blame themselves when they are in distress. Rather he is encouraging people to keep their heart soft and pure in a situation that can easily turn a person bitter. We want to align ourselves with a holy and awesome God in these situations.
Bring your needs to God without reservation.
I love the language this psalm used to describe our prayer to God. “The righteous cry out,” “Seek the Lord” “the poor man cried” is all language of not holding back. When you are in distress that is not the time for religious posturing and pious pretense. David encourages an all out bringing of your brokenness to God. I have talked elsewhere about emotion and prayer.
Trust God to answer your prayer.
One of my favorite parts of this psalm is that God is trustworthy and involved with His people. Such great promises are for those who pour out their heart to God. “He delivered me from all of my fears.” “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” And on and on it goes. When we focus on Him, keep our heart clean and bring our need to God we can trust Him to involve Himself in our situation. Will you go to Him today?