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“Even in the midst of internal chaos over which I feel I have little control, you will lift up my soul. I know I can hope in you, God, and I WILL praise you, for you loved me enough to die for me, to save me, and to be MY GOD. I will not give in to my downcast thoughts, but lift them up to praise you, O worthy and loving God.”
Previously in our Praying Scripture series, we’ve explored prayers for times of deep pain and for everyday life. As a girl named after baby deer, Psalm 42 was my arch nemesis in Christian elementary school. Lots of jokes about me panting for streams and such made me steer clear of this passage for much of my life. It is only in adulthood that I find myself returning to this poem over and over again, when my soul is weary and sinking into depression; it expresses things for which I often cannot find words. On those mornings when you can no longer pretend to be okay, or those sleepless nights when your mind goes to dark places, praying through this poem, this song, can lift your eyes to the only one who can bring light to darkness, our perfect Father.
The Psalm is in italics, with my own prayer following each section in regular font as an example of how you can use Scripture to cry out to God when you have few words of your own.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
O God, my soul is dry and I feel like I’m dying of thirst; like a dehydrated animal in a drought. At times lately, all I can do is ask when I’ll be in heaven with you because life on this earth is draining me.
“My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
Behind my smile and “I’m okays” are tears I’m barely holding in, as my mind lies to me, questioning your love and presence in my life.
“These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”
But even in the midst of my sadness, I WILL remember how I have celebrated and found great joy in worshipping you. I WILL remember my spiritual family praising you together. I WILL start to take my thoughts captive when these lies encroach, and look back on your past blessings.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.”
I WILL question my thoughts and emotions and beg you to help me speak truth to myself! You, O God, are my hope and salvation! And I SHALL praise you, even when I don’t feel like it. Because my soul is grieving, I will work even harder to remember you, the God of my past, who has gotten me through so much.
“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
Even still, Lord, it feels like I’m suffering from blow after blow and I cannot escape. But I know your love is sturdy and ever-present, even in the midst of the hardest days and the longest nights, so I cry out to you, God of my life!
“I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’ As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
I bring all of my fears and doubts, the lies and uncertainties, and lay them at your feet O Lord. My own thoughts and those around me cause me to question you, but I know you are there so I will pray these questions to you, knowing you will answer.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Even in the midst of internal chaos over which I feel I have little control, you will lift up my soul. I know I can hope in you, God, and I WILL praise you, for you loved me enough to die for me, to save me, and to be MY GOD. I will not give in to my downcast thoughts, but lift them up to praise you, O worthy and loving God.
Read Part 4: A Prayer for Building Up a Friend
Fawn currently works as the Client Services Director at a local pregnancy center and serves Cornerstone in the Biblical Counseling ministry.
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