Psalm 101 is our reading for today. Have you ever felt absolutely desperate? Have you seemed overwhelmed with trouble and you need to pour out your heart and problems to the Lord? If so, you'll find yourself in alignment with the psalmist in psalm 101. But not only does he pour out his problems, he gives us some insights how to pray when all seems desperate. In the first eleven verses, the psalmist (we don't know who wrote it) pours out his heart. He begs God to hear his prayeres and not to turn away from him. "Bend down your ear (what an image!) and answer me quickly" (vss 1,2). Have you ever felt this way?
-a sick heart, a loss of appetite (vs 4). Groaning and loss of weight (vs 5). Very lonely and loss of sleep (vss 6,7). People taunting and making fun of you (vs 8). Constant crying (vs 9). Feel like God is against you (vs 10). Your life is whizzing by (vs 11).
How do you pray when you feel this way? Here are several things the psalmist did that you may find interesting:
1. Vs 12 he begins with the famous "But you, God." God is always the great "but." Whenever you feel something, God is always able to change your circumstances.
2. Next the psalmist prays for Jerusalem! Amazing! He is hurting beyond words and he prays for the city of Jerusalem (vss 12-16). Whenever you're overwhelmed, it's always best to start praying for others, perhaps, like here, for the city in which you live.
3. Vs 17: the psalmist reminds himself that God always hears the prayers of the destitute and needy. It's as if, in the middle of his own prayer, he reminds himself that God DOES hear all prayers.
4. Vss 18-20. He prays for the prisoners of the world. Again, he jumps outside himself to pray. When you're overwhelmed, remember especially the persecuted church, Christians around the world imprisoned for their faith. For me, this always puts my problems into perspective.
5. Vss 20-22: The psalmist reminds himself of God's fame and how future generations will know his greatness. Though his life is fading fast (vs 23), he knows others will know the Lord in the future. This gives his heart hope.
6. Vss 24-27: This desperate man starts reminding himself of God's greatness and glory. God laid the foundations of the earth and created the heavens by the work of his hands (vs 25). Everything in this world will perish but God remains forever (vs 26). God is always the same, never changing from glory to glory (vs 27). When desperate, take some time to remind yourself that God is great, glorious, almighty and powerful. He is certainly ABLE to meet your every need and change your situation, if God is God!
7. Vs 28: Finally, the psalmist does not concentrate on his own problems but starts praying for his children and his children's children! In spite of his circumstances, he believes they will not only be secure in God's hands but thrive in his presence. Again, he doesn't concentrate on himself but prays for future generations to know the greatness of his God.
You feel overwhelmed today? Then pray for your city, prisoners (especially the persecuted church), the greatness of God and future generations to know God's greatness.
We don't know if the psalmist's own problems shrank as he prayed this way. But it does seem like the right way to pray when all seems desperate.