Reality bites – Psalms #2 – Anxiety, honesty and prayer – Psalm 55

Reality bites – Psalms #2 – Anxiety, honesty and prayer – Psalm 55

Psalm 55

1 Listen to my prayer, O God,

do not ignore my plea;

2 hear me and answer me.

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

3 at the voice of the enemy,

at the stares of the wicked;

for they bring down suffering upon me

and revile me in their anger.

 

4My heart is in anguish within me;

the terrors of death assail me.

5 Fear and trembling have beset me;

horror has overwhelmed me.

6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest—

7 I would flee far away

and stay in the desert; Selah

8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,

far from the tempest and storm.”

 

9Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech,

for I see violence and strife in the city.

10Day and night they prowl about on its walls;

malice and abuse are within it.

11Destructive forces are at work in the city;

threats and lies never leave its streets.

 

12 If an enemy were insulting me,

I could endure it;

if a foe were raising himself against me,

I could hide from him.

13But it is you, a man like myself,

my companion, my close friend,

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship

as we walked with the throng at the house of God.

 

15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;

let them go down alive to the grave,

for evil finds lodging among them.

 

16But I call to God,

and the LORD saves me.

17 Evening, morning and noon

I cry out in distress,

and he hears my voice.

18He ransoms me unharmed

from the battle waged against me,

even though many oppose me.

19 God, who is enthroned forever,

will hear them and afflict them— Selah

men who never change their ways

and have no fear of God.

 

20My companion attacks his friends;

he violates his covenant.

21His speech is smooth as butter,

yet war is in his heart;

his words are more soothing than oil,

yet they are drawn swords.

 

22Cast your cares on the LORD

and he will sustain you;

he will never let the righteous fall.

23But you, O God, will bring down the wicked

into the pit of corruption;

bloodthirsty and deceitful men

will not live out half their days.

 

But as for me, I trust in you.

What should the believer do when face with a crisis or some situation which really gives stress, anxiety and emotional turmoil?

The Psalms of Lament: Psalms 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27*, 28, 31, 36*, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42-43, 52*, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 69, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89*, 120, 139, 141, 142.

http://www.xenos.org/classes/psalms/psweek2.htm

  • David is in a state of total panic, emotionally devastated – 1.

distraught (2), trouble (2), anger (3), anguish (4), terrors (4), fear & trembling (5).

  • How may we respond? What resources are available to help us?

The resource of prayer:

Prayer provides a context in which we can work through our anxieties and come to terms with them.

Psalm 55 shows us HOW prayer DID make a difference to a man who was in trouble.

Verse 22: Cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you.

Feelings of fear: anxious and angry – vv.2-4.

The desire to escape – 6,7,8.

Prayer – God’s listening ear – v.1.

Regular prayer – v.17.

Phil.4:6-7Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

6-Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life. (The Message)

Cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you – v.22.

Why worry when you can pray? OR Why pray when you can worry?!

Key phrases: Emotional turmoil; God is listening; Escape from pain; Dealing with pain; Handing our pain to God.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • How do you handle anxiety, stress and anger?
  • How does this Psalm encourage us to deal with such feelings?
  • What part should prayer play in encouraging us in difficult situations?

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