Not long ago, I sat across the table at a restaurant with a friend. She mentioned how she was feeling spiritually discouraged and as soon as she was open and honest with her feelings – I joined her. I said – me too! Specifically, I was so frustrated with how long I had been praying for some things. God seemed to be answering no – or wait. I could hardly stand it! My patience was thin and I wanted to see the power of God at work. My friend nodded in agreement – she was at the exact same place and we were both so discouraged.
Through out my lifetime, I have seen the power of God work mightily in so many men and women’s lives, that I know the prayers I am praying are possible. God can do it – I believe! And so I wonder why he’s not? Why do my prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling and bouncing back? Am I not praying in God’s will? Is it me? Is it timing? Should I just stop the prayers?
It’s hard to share these feelings in black in white here with you all – because I don’t want to let people down. I want to be a strong woman of faith, who doesn’t doubt or waiver and who faithfully prays with perseverance – but I have to admit – sometimes I get discouraged.
And when I get discouraged – I tend to want to quit, which then leads to me asking God – why? And when I get to the why point and there’s no answers — I start to feel alone and like God might not even care. And when my emotions get low, they start to dominate my feelings — which can ruin my thought processes. And that leads to dangerous paths, that I do not want to be on. I do not want to be controlled by or led by my emotions – I want to be led by God.
Have you been there too?
Have you ever prayed and wondered if God’s on vacation because he doesn’t seem to be answering? I sent an email to someone last month and I received an automatic reply saying that the person was on vacation for the month of July. This meant I had to wait until August for an answer. I did not enjoy the wait.
But I want to assure you – God does not go on vacation and he DOES hear our prayers. That I confidently know.
Sometimes our feelings are liars.
We must not let our emotions dominate our lives.
But inner turmoil is real, even for strong believers. Sometimes we tell believers who are discouraged or who struggle with anxiety to just pray more. Believe more. Have more faith. But I can testify that sometimes you can being doing all of that and still be discouraged – it’s part of living in a fallen world.
David was a mighty king and godly warrior. He was a tough guy and yet all throughout Psalms, we see him crying out to God in distress. He was unbelievably open about his pain. But he was also unbelievably hopeful because the God he prayed to is a God of hope! And that’s our God too.
In Psalm 143, David cried out to God because he was feeling absolutely crushed. Here’s what he said:
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 Qualities of David’s Prayer
1.) David begged God to hear his prayer and give him mercy.
2.) David appealed to God’s character for an answer. He called God faithful and righteous and he said – in your faithfulness and righteousness answer me!
3.) David was humble before God. He asked the Lord to not judge him because he knew that no one is righteous before the all righteous God.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
David’s Emotions Were Dominating His Life
1.) David was suffering from an inner attack. He says the enemy had pursued his soul. When David says soul – he is referring to his inner emotions. He was being attacked emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
2.) David felt crushed to the ground. His inner turmoil had made him totally miserable.
3.) David was sitting in darkness. His thoughts were dark.
4.) David’s was overwhelmed and distressed.
David was not okay.
Have you been there? Have you been so on the edge of crying, that you barely stub your toe or the smallest thing happens and suddenly tears are flowing for no apparent reason or you come apart emotionally in a tirade?
This is where David is at – but let’s see what he does with all of those emotions…
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
(Psalm 143:5 -6)
3 Ways David Handled His Emotions
1.) David remembered the days of old. David is not thinking back on the “good ol’ days”. That can be discouraging. Instead he caused himself to remember the times when he cried out to God and God cared and was faithful to him.
2.) David meditated and pondered on all that God had done in the past. Are you discouraged? Think back and remember all that God has already done in your life! Your story is not done yet – he is still at work in a thousand different ways, even when you cannot see it. Let remembering – build your faith.
3.) He reached out to God as a parched land thirsts for rain. Sometimes when we are hurting, the last thing we want to do is open the Bible. But it’s the first thing David did and we should act like David when our soul is in turmoil. Because when we run from God rather than to him, our problems only grow and we open ourselves up to all sorts of lies from the enemy.
David stopped his emotions from dominating his thinking and instead refocused his thoughts to the faithfulness of God.
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 143: 7-8)
1.) David begs God to answer quickly. He says his spirit is failing because he can hardly wait another minute on God to answer his prayer. Have you been there – me too! Waiting on God is so very hard. I’m so thankful that David was honest about how painful waiting on God can be.
2.) David asked God to show his face lest he end up in a pit of despair. When God does not answer our prayers, it can feel like we’ve been abandoned by God and that can lead to even deeper despair.
3.) David needed to hear – early in the morning – of God’s love so that he would have the strength to make it through another day.
4.) David did not know what way to go. He needed God’s guidance and so he asked God to show him the way he should go.
Our emotions are powerful.
David was fighting for hope by lifting his soul – his emotions – up to God. He did not repress his feelings but rather he was honest about them in prayer. Our emotions are powerful but we must not let them dominate our lives or our life will be one big rollercoaster ride of dramatic ups and downs.
We need something more stable.
David prayed for deliverance:
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.
How to Follow God Instead of Your Emotions
1.) David prayed that God would teach him to do his will.
We can’t follow God’s will, when we are dominated by our emotions. Our emotions will lead us astray – so it’s an act of obedience to control ourselves and obey God even when we don’t feel like it.
When you don’t know what to do because your emotions have blinded you – pray and ask God to teach you his will.
2.) David Prayed that God’s Spirit would lead him to level ground.
David wanted God to lead him – NOT his emotions.
Are you tired of your emotions leading you?
God wants to lead you…
and onto level ground.
Get off the rollercoaster ride of emotions and go to God and say – I need you! Don’t be all religious and stiff with God. He loves you and he sent his son to die on the cross for your sins so you can have a relationship with him. We don’t have to pray “churchy” prayers to please him. Like David, we can cry out to him and tell him everything we honestly feel.
In verse 9, David said that God was his refuge.
Who or what is your refuge right now?
Is it a person? A form of entertainment? Social media? Netflix? Food? Money? Stuff? Fun times? Positive thinking?
These will only be a temporary fix and you will slip right back into the pit of despair. Determine to make God your refuge today. God’s word is true. You can trust in Him. Be like David and follow God instead of your emotions.
The optional paperback journal is
available exclusively on Amazon!
If you’d like to purchase a printable-digital copy
(so you have it right away) at half the price
click the Buy Now button below.