My thoughts (Jeff Cope):
Sometimes I find my prayers are dry, tired, and lacking enthusiasm. There have been other times when I want to pray, but my heart is too heavy to find the right words. When it comes down to either of these situations, I turn to the psalms. The psalms are extremely powerful prayers in times of need or even to jumpstart your prayer life.
Like the psalmist, when we face the real trials of life, the hardships can be so tough that our only hope is to cry out to God. These aren’t your everyday prayers of thanks or for guidance. No, these are us, baring our souls to God and asking for God’s immediate deliverance. We are down to nothing and have no one else to turn to. “I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power” (verse 29).
Inevitably, situations in life can make us feel alone and afraid. Whether it’s suffering through illness, losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or just finding our path in this life. It can even feel like no one understands what we are going through. I believe that unless you’ve been in a particular situation, then it’s impossible to know exactly what another person is going through. The good news is: God knows exactly what you’re going through and how to help you. “For the Lord hears the cries of the needy; [the Lord] does not despise [the Lord's] imprisoned people” (verse 33).
Even if you aren’t experiencing suffering, the psalms are powerful to read and to pray back to God. They are a reminder that others in this world do suffer, and they even give us a window into those struggles.
Thought for the day: God wants us to provide comfort to those in need. In order to be empathetic to that end, it’s important to step into their shoes and to try to understand what they are going through.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.