By: Barr Overcast, Assistant Pastor
Our desire as a church is that prayer would be a regular part of our lives, both in times of prosperity and in times of want. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) However, it is appropriate during seasons of greater need to set aside special time to fast and pray for God’s favor. (Nehemiah 1)
One of the ways that we can pray is by using God’s word as a guide. Taking a passage of Scripture, it is often helpful to take the words that God has given us and pray them back to him, adding our own words and thoughts to the original writer’s. In this guide, we will be praying through Psalm 13, following the pattern of David’s prayer.
"How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God" — Psalm 13:1-3a
As we begin our fast, we begin with lament. This world that we live in is broken by sin and the curse of the fall. Therefore, our lives are often marked by tragedy and difficulty. In the face of this tragedy, our initial response is to lament, weeping over the brokenness of the world and crying out to God to hear us in the midst of our pain.
In Psalm 13, this is exactly what we see David doing. He cries out from a place of grief asking God to hear his request. For David, the pain of his circumstances was only part of the issue. As he experienced grief and sadness, he also felt abandoned by God. The longer God went without answering his prayer, the more abandoned he felt.
These are the bitterest moments of grief. It often seems as though we can handle anything as long as we know that God is by our side, giving us strength to handle whatever the world sends our way. And sometimes God meets us in our sadness, showing us that He is at work for our good. But sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes our pain so overwhelms us that it seems like God has abandoned us and turned His attention away. In these moments, we lament by grieving our circumstances as well as the felt loss of God’s presence.
Weep over your circumstances, whatever tragedies are on your heart
Weep for our church’s building situation, that we have had such a difficult time finding a place to gather for worship
Cry out for God to hear and answer our requests as we pray today
"... light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken."
Following David’s example, we move now from lament into bringing our requests to God. We now ask God to heal the brokenness we have been lamenting. Our requests, like David’s, are a way that we express our reliance on God in the midst of life’s troubles; in bringing our requests to God, we also acknowledge that the one who will heal the brokenness of the world is God, not us.
In bringing his requests to God, David asks for three things: 1) renew my life/energy (“light up my eyes”), 2) protect me from death, and 3) do not let my enemy defeat me. I would imagine that the threat of literal death is not a present fear for most people in our church, but we can still learn a great deal from David about some of the types of requests that we can bring to God. First, we learn that it’s appropriate to ask for strength and renewed energy in following God’s will. Second, we ought to pray that God would bring an end to evil, in general and in its specific forms.
for God’s blessing on 401 S Main St, that he would open a door for us to worship there soon
for Jeff and others in leadership as they work to bring stability to our Sunday morning worship
for God’s help in the work of making disciples during this period of difficulty; that the instability of our Sunday morning location wouldn’t stop us from encouraging one another and pursuing the lost
Evening (Just before breaking your fast)
"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD because he has dealt bountifully with me." — Psalm 13:5-6
In the final section of Psalm 13, David transitions into praise and rejoicing. Notice where David starts: trust. Trust means that we don’t have to wait for God to answer our prayers or change our circumstances before we praise God. We place our trust in him, knowing that he is good and knowing that evil will not have the final word. And from this place of trust, we praise the one who has proven faithful time and time again.
for God’s kindness in giving us a church family and for the ways we can live as family even when we’re in between church buildings
that God’s mercies are new every morning, even when we can’t see them
that God chose you, sent His Son to die for you, and called you