TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

II. Praying in Hard Times

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Chapter 39  Part II

Praying in Hard Times

Prayer is probably the most prominent positive response to hard times. The Bible shows us a great deal about praying to God in such times. The psalms in particular contain a number of prayers of people faced with great difficulties and suffering, from which we can learn much.

Tell God about Your Problems

When facing trouble, pray to God

[God:] Pray to me when you are in trouble! I will deliver you, and you will honor me!   Psalms 50:15  NET

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises.   James 5:13  NET

Tell God of your plight and how you feel

[David, to God:] Do not remain far away from me, for trouble is near and I have no one to help me. … 14My strength drains away like water; all my bones are dislocated; my heart is like wax; it melts away inside me.   Psalms 22:11, 14  NET

[David, to God:] Turn to me and have mercy on me, because I am lonely and hurting. 17My troubles have grown larger; free me from my problems. 18Look at my suffering and troubles, and take away all my sins. 19Look at how many enemies I have! See how much they hate me!   Psalms 25:16-19  NCV™

Pour out your heart to God

Trust in him at all times, you people! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our shelter! (Selah)   Psalms 62:8  NET

[Hannah:] I have poured out my soul to the Lord. 16I have spoken from my deep pain and anguish.   1 Samuel 1:15b, 16b  NET

To pour out your heart to God involves telling God about all your concerns and feelings. In a sense it is to empty your heart of all its troubles, laying them out before God.

Ask God for Help

See also:

Cry out to God for help

[David:] In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried out to my God. From his heavenly temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help.   Psalms 18:6  NET

Ask God for strength

[A psalmist, to God:] My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!   Psalms 119:28  ESV

Ask God to guide you

[David, to God:] May I hear about your loyal love in the morning, for I trust in you. Show me the way I should go, because I long for you.   Psalms 143:8  NET

Ask God for deliverance

[David:] O God, because of your great loyal love, answer me with your faithful deliverance! 14Rescue me from the mud! Don’t let me sink! Deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep water!   Psalms 69:13b-14  NET

Persist in prayer to God

Lord, you are the God who saves me. I cry out to you day and night.   Psalms 88:1  NCV™

Praise and Rejoice in God

Praise and thank God amidst trouble

He [Jehoshaphat] met with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.” 22When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.   2 Chronicles 20:21-22  NET

[Job, responding to horrific loss:] The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”   Job 1:21b  ESV

Rejoice in God amidst trouble

[Habakkuk:] Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines; even if the olive harvest fails, and the fields produce nothing edible; even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold, and there is no herd in the stalls— 18as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God of my deliverance.   Habakkuk 3:17-18  ISV

Epilogue: God Does Respond to Suffering

God is near us in hard times

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.   Psalms 34:18  NCV™

God comforts his people in hard times

[David, to God:] Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.   Psalms 23:4  ESV

[Paul, to believers:] Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   2 Corinthians 1:3-4  NET

Testimony to God answering prayers in suffering and trouble

[David:] I sought the Lord’s help and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. … 6This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard; he saved him from all his troubles.   Psalms 34:4, 6  NET

Pray for persecuted Christians