Out of control. Spinning out of control. Spiraling out of control. Crescendoing into chaos!
As I write these words, my world has seemingly spun out of control. Yet my heart is filled with peace. It is certainly not my peace. On my own, creating hope amid this chaos would be impossible. I am a woman of routine. A woman that has a clean house, organized planner, and a daily structure for my children. Can you relate?
So where do we turn when our circumstances change, and hope seems distant? The Bible contains many encouraging scriptures, but these Psalms of hope are especially encouraging when life seems out of control.
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Praying the Psalms for Hope and Encouragement
During times when obstacles have mounted, our knees may need a bit more moisturizer. Why? Because hopefully, we are bending them before the Lord daily. These Psalms of hope are meant to draw us more near to our Savior in the expectation that we will be encouraged by the refreshment of His Word.
What’s the Difference Between Hope and Faith
Correct definitions of hope and faith have been long sought after, but their definitions are quite simple. Faith is putting your trust in something unseen or unproven. By contrast, hope is a positive anticipation of something in the future that you believe to be true.
Faith is in the here and now. Hope is in the future.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV
It is easy to skim over that first part. For years I skipped over the significance of it. Maybe it will help to put it into a different wording. We have the assurance of the things hoped for, which are not yet proven or seen, because of our faith.
I am getting chills of exhilaration just thinking through the deep implications of that verse! The bible seems to indicate that Jesus performed his miracles in faith. He did not just hope that his miracles would work. In faith, he raised Lazarus from the dead, in faith he fed the multitudes, in faith, he made wine from water, in faith he laid down his life.
Hope and faith go together. Our faith feeds the fire of hope that relinquishes the worries of this world.
Why is the Book of Psalms so Powerful
The book of Psalms has long been a poetic comfort to believers. Perhaps it is so powerful because of its poetic nature. The lilt and flow of the passages roll together in a gorgeous structure. Scholars generally agree that there are 4 major types of Psalms: Praise, Lament, Royal, and Thanksgiving. Very often our prayers reflect these themes. We praise God to acknowledge who He is and who we are. There often is an over eager amount of lamenting as we contemplate all the items in life we are not quite satisfied with. Certainly, we give thanks in our prayers and with our families because God has truly blessed us.
The Psalms are powerful, is because the Psalms are relatable in the ways that we pray.
Others have suggested it is powerful because King David wrote much of it. King David was a man of many hardships, turmoil, and sorrows. He proved many times over that he was very much a human man with a human sinful nature. He made many mistakes, yet God called him a man after his own heart.
The Psalms are powerful because they are relatable to our weaknesses, years after they were written.
How Do You Use the Psalms to Pray
King David wrote many of the Psalms as prayers. After he sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote Psalm 51; a powerful Psalm of confession and crying out to the Lord. The Psalms can easily be turned into your own prayers. Common practices when using the Psalms to pray are:
1 – Read them straight from the bible as a prayer for yourself.
Psalm 51:10-12 is a great starting place. When I feel the full weight of my sin, I often cannot come up with words to express my need for my savior. Find verses that confess a weakness and use them in your prayer life.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right[a] spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
2 – Change the word “me” to a name.
This is one of my favorite practices when using the Psalms. The Psalms are filled with passages that the word “me” can be changed to your name. Visually seeing or hearing names added to a scripture passage makes that passage more relatable.
- Create in “Rachael” a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within “Rachael”.
- Cast “Rachael” not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from “Rachael”.
- Restore to “Rachael” the joy of your salvation, and uphold “Rachael” with a willing spirit.
3 – Use the imagery in the passage to shape your prayer.
King David uses imagery to describe the washing away of his sins. When you read imagery in the Bible, let your mind form those images. It can be powerful to visualize the imagery of the passage and apply it to your prayers.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
Pray These Palms of Hope
Times of distress, turmoil, unsettledness, worry, and inconsistency can become refreshments by turning to the Word of God. When we need hope, the Psalms are a place to turn to find an abundance of simple and relatable encouragement. Praying the Psalms brings hope to our hearts when life seems out of control.
Psalms of Hope and Encouragement
One of the greatest gifts of encouragement in the Psalms that I have ever read is that the Lord hears us. Let me say it again just so you understand how marvelous this is, he hears us. However, he does not just hear us; as Psalms 34 says, he delivers us as well!
I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Psalm 116:1
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18
Let these Psalms of encouragement replenish your heart when life brings you discouragement.
Psalms of Hope and Strength
Our strength is not our own. By my own will, I can do nothing. We are too sinful, too damaged. It is by the grace of Jesus Christ that I am saved and that I have strength for the future. The above Psalms reflect this. They are always pointing us to a strength that is greater than our own.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
When life has made you weak, let these Psalms of strength remind you that your strength comes from God, not by your own will.
Psalms About Hope for the Future
Psalm 33 is an excellent prayer to add names to. It is a powerful reflection of pointing our hearts and eyes toward the future and resting in the Lord. When praying this Psalms, I have often found myself saying repeatedly, “Because Rachael trusts in his holy name.”
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, Psalm 33:18
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
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. Psalm 42:5
Notice that the Psalmist writes that ‘our soul waits.’ That can be a hard practice when life is out of control. Yet if we truly trust that if God loves us and is in control, we can wait on His timing and plan.
When the future seems unclear, let your hope rest firmly in your Savior, Jesus Christ.
Pray the Psalms of Hope to Remember That God is in Control
Remember how we said, “having faith puts our trust in the here and now and hope is trusting that we will have faith in the future?” We do not know what tomorrow is going to bring. Our hope rests solely on the promise that God is in control.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19
Remember that He rules over all things, including our seemingly out of control life. What is out of control to us, is in control to Him. Now that is good news for my heart.
God rules over all things. He is in control, not us. During the dark times, we can trust in the light that he offers. Our hope and faith lie completely in our Savior. One of the times I had to trust during a dark time was when my tuition funds were not coming in. I was faced with the possibility of dropping out of school. I’ll always remember the evening at work when I received an email from a family friend who encouraged me to not doubt where God was leading
I sat at the front receptionist desk of a Christian college staring at my computer screen. My mind was completely torn by the sentence my eyes kept scanning. It read, “Rachael, do not doubt in the darkness, what God has revealed in the light.” The sentence was decidedly a Christian cliché’ saying, of which I had an extraordinarily strong distaste for, but the words were hitting home.
Years later, that little cliché’ saying has been an anchor when times get rough. The Psalms are remarkably similar. There is a vast ocean of words in the Psalms that point us to relying on God with faith and hope when times get tough.
Find that one passage that is your little Psalm of hope, and pray it over and over again when life seems out of control.
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