A Man Burdened

E.M. Bounds (1835-1913), who authored nine books on the subject of prayer, once wrote, “Prayer is the language of a man burdened with a sense of need.”

But sometimes when we go through a painful patch, we wonder where God is. Does he know what I’m going through? Is he aware?

And if I pray, will he listen to me? Will he pay attention, even if all I feel like doing is lashing out? What if it sounds a lot like faithless whining?

Then, will he do something about it? Does he care enough to help me? Do I matter enough to him that he will get up and act to take care of what’s causing this pain?

And finally, can he do something about it? Does he have the power? The authority?

David must have had some of the same questions going through his own mind. And he wrote a Psalm about it. Whatever pain, sorrow or affliction he was going through at the time, he puts himself in front of God in prayer.

There he reminds himself (and if you actually look at, he appears to be reminding God too!) of these facts:

  • God is always in control, and that will never end.
  • He listens when we pray.
  • He encourages us and defends us–especially when we are most helpless and powerless.
  • He can and will do something about our troubles. The power and authority are there. The love and compassion are there too.

“The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror” (Psalm 10:16-18, NIV).

Lord, you are king! You are in control of everything that goes on in the world and in my life. You listen to me when I pray. You hear me when I’m most powerless. Lift my burden. Encourage me with your power and love at work in my life. Take my trouble and worry, and deal with them according to your will. I know that you can and will help me carry this burden, and at the same time, you will use this trouble to strengthen my heart, and increase my faith.

Our Bible reading for Sunday, January 18, is Genesis 36:1 – 37:36, Matthew 13:18-35 and Psalm 10:12-18.

Header image based on "Prayer is the Language" by Francisco, CC by 2.0

Anguish

Anguish is defined by Merriam-Webster as “extreme pain, distress or anxiety.”

You’ve been there. So have I.

We experience a loss. Maybe it’s a loved one, or a treasured possession, or a capability we once possessed. It’s painful.

We come under attack. Perhaps it’s an attack on our health by a disease or injury. Maybe it’s a personal attack by someone from whom we expect support. That’s distressing.

We face difficult challenges that lie ahead. They may seem insurmountable. Defeat looms, rather than victory. In the place of glory, shame hovers. The situation is most definitely anxiety-producing.

What’s the best way to handle anguish? I highly recommend David’s way.

He trusted God’s power to sooth his anguish. He leaned on God’s authority to address issues and provide healing, according to his will. Most of all, no matter what situation was creating his pain, distress or anxiety, David looked to God for unfailing love.

“Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:2-4, NIV).

Lord, you are in control of the entire universe, and you love me. Please grant me relief of my anguish, according to your will, Lord. May this pain and distress draw me closer to you. May my anxiety make me a more faithful pray-er.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, January 7, is Genesis 14:1 – 16:16, Matthew 5:43 – 6:24 and Psalm 6:1-10.

Header image based on "anguished..." by Aoyama, CC by 2.0