~ A Prayer for Victory over Powerlessness ~
In the title index of the What's New page, you will find the selection Prayers ~ Model and Teaching Prayers, a collection of short prayers for various purposes. Because of their length and specific intent, you'll also find other prayers listed separately, such as A Psalm to My Lord, Prayer for Redemption, Celebration Prayer, Year 2000, and A Prayer: Breaking the Strongholds. The prayer that follows falls into that category. Perhaps we could call it a prayer for the "chronically hopeless," for those enduring long term periods of despondency, frustration, or feeling as though God isn't listening.
This prayer is a useful companion to our Weekly Reflection entitled Losing Hope? We observed in that Reflection, "the experience of spiritual hopelessness and despairing waiting is so prevalent yet rarely the subject of an in-depth study in sermons or Bible study classes. Solomon recognized the importance by writing, 'Delayed hope makes one sick at heart, but a fulfilled longing is a tree of life.'" (Proverbs 13:12) The Psalms are saturated with this issue. The great king, warrior, and servant of God, David, along with other writers of the Psalms, wrote eloquently of the spiritual challenge of hopelessness: "The enemy has pursued me; he has ground my life into the dirt... that is why I begin to lose hope and my heart is in a state of shock... Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit is worn out!" (Psalm 43: 3a, 4, 7a)
Unlike the prayers cited above, this prayer is composed entirely of Scripture, mainly from the Psalms and the prayers of the prophets. Some parts are bold and even challenge God; others have a demanding tone; still others are praises and profound worship. Although you may feel unaccustomed to praying in some of these ways, you can rest assured they all have God's approval and blessing since His own Holy Spirit inspired them.
Now regarding the word "inspired," we consider it to be a less than accurate translation of the Greek word Timothy used in 2 Timothy 3:16 when he wrote "Every Scripture passage is inspired by God." This translation renders the idea of inspiration as akin to an artist's painting or a poet's poem being inspired by a beautiful sunset. Amusingly, a better translation of the original language may be "expired" as in "breathing out." The accurate, literal translation that should replace "inspired" is "God-breathed." All scripture is "breathed out" by God. So when you pray the Scriptures, you are breathing back to God what He was breathing out to you. Isn't that wondrous and powerful! That certainly cannot be said for any of the prayers I composed. So rest confidently that when you pray the following, you are praying in His will and in His heart. Have hope, for He hears His own breath!
Finally, please keep in mind the editing we did in formulating this prayer. All grammatical tenses were changed to the third person. For example, instead of praying, "My soul is weak from waiting for you to save me" (Psalm 119:81), it will read "Our souls are weak...." The reason is to facilitate praying for others as well as for ourselves. So when you pray "our souls," you may choose to mean "My soul and my spouse's", "My soul and my family's" or "The souls of your persecuted children all over the world." It all depends for whom you are praying and God will certainly know, of course. All verses are referenced so you can compare them with your own Bible versions. However we have referenced them with a number [i. e. (1)] and provided a listing at the end to avoid longer, distracting verse locations within the prayer.
When praying this, we suggest that any verses in the past tense, such as "You have freed me from my chains" (Psalm 116:16 b), that have not yet been fulfilled be offered as a prophetic prayer already answered although not yet manifested in the physical realm. There is power in doing that in faith, as Christ Himself instructed us. "That's why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24, emphasis ours.) Also keep in mind that the instructions of Christ, such as coming to the altar with a forgiving heart for all who have violated you and that the heavenly Father's Name must be kept holy in our prayers and deeds.
Remember Jesus' story of the relentless widow who would not stop begging a judge for justice in her care. Luke wrote, "Jesus used this illustration with his disciples to show them that they need to pray all the time and never give up." (Luke 18:1.)
Discouraged, hopeless, or confused about prayer? Pray anyway and never give up!
~ A Prayer for Victory over Powerlessness ~
Open your ears to our words, O Lord.
Consider our innermost thoughts.
Pay attention to our cries for help, our king and our God.
Because we pray only to you.
In the morning, O Lord, hear our voices.
In the morning we lay our needs in front of you,
and we wait. (1)
Have pity on us, O Lord, because we are weak.
Heal us, O Lord, because our bones shake with terror.
Our souls have been deeply shaken with terror.
But you, O Lord, how long...?
Come back O Lord.
Rescue us. Save us because of your mercy! (2)
We are worn out from our groanings.
Our eyes flood our beds every night.
We soak our couches with tears.
Our eyes blur from grief.
They fail because of our enemies.
Get away from us, all you troublemakers,
because the Lord has heard the sound of our crying.
The Lord has heard our pleas for mercy.
The Lord accepts our prayers.
All our enemies will be put to shame and deeply shaken
with terror. In a moment they will retreat and be put to shame.
O Lord our God, we have taken refuge in you.
Save, us and rescue us from all who are pursuing us. (3)
Arise O God! Lift your hand O God.
Do not forget oppressed people! (4)
Look at us! Answer us, O Lord our God!
Light up our eyes or else we will die
and our enemies will say, "We have overpowered them."
Our opponents will rejoice because we have been shaken.
But we trust your mercy.
Our hearts find joy in your salvation.
We will sing to the Lord because he has been good to us. (5)
The Lord is our inheritance and our cup.
You are the one who determines our destinies.
Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for us.
Indeed, our inheritance is something beautiful.
Let the verdict of our innocence come directly from you.
We have avoided cruelty because of your word.
In spite of what others have done,
our steps have remained firmly in your paths.
Our feet have not slipped.
We have called on you because you answer us, O God.
Turn your ear toward us.
Hear what we have to say.
Reveal your miraculous deeds of mercy,
O Savior of those who find refuge by your side
from those who attack them.
Guard us as if we were the pupil of your eye.
Hide us in the shadow of your wings.
Hide us from the wicked people who violently attack us,
from our deadly enemies who surround us. (6)
We love you O Lord our strength.
You reached down from high above and took hold of us.
You pulled us out of the raging water.
You rescued us from our strong enemy.
O Lord you light our lamps
Our God turns our darkness into light.
God's way is perfect!
The promise of the Lord has proven to be true.
He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.
God arms us with strength and makes our way perfect. (7)
Even though an army sets up camp against us,
our hearts will not be afraid.
Even though a war breaks against us,
we will still have confidence in the Lord.
We have asked one thing from the Lord.
This we will seek: to remain in the Lord's house
all the days of our lives in order to gaze at the Lord's beauty,
and to search for an answer in his temple.
Now our heads will be raised above our enemies
who surround us.
Do not surrender us to the will of our opponents.
False witnesses have risen against us.
They breathe out violence.
We believe we will see the goodness of the Lord
in this world of the living.
Wait with hope for the Lord.
Be strong and let our hearts be courageous.
Yes we wait with hope for the Lord. (8)
We have taken refuge in you O Lord.
Never let us be put to shame.
Pull us out of the net they have secretly laid for us,
into your hands we entrust our spirits.
You have rescued us, O Lord, God of truth.
We will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
You have seen our misery.
You have known the troubles in our souls.
You have not handed us over to the enemy.
You have set our feet in a place where we can move freely.
Our future is in your hands.
Rescue us from our enemies, from those who persecute us.
Smile on us. Save us with your mercy.
O Lord we have called on you, so do not let us put to shame.
Let their lying lips be speechless,
since they speak against righteous people
with arrogance and contempt. (9)
O Lord attack those who attack us.
Fight against those who fight against us.
Arise to help us.
Hold your spear to block the way of those pursue us.
Let those who seek our lives be put to shame and disgraced.
Let those who plan our downfall be turned back to confusion.
Let their path be dark and slippery
as the Messenger of the Lord pursues them.
Rescue our precious lives from the lions.
We will give you thanks in a large gathering.
We will praise you in crowd of worshippers.
Let those who promote themselves at our expense
be clothed with shame and disgrace.
Let those who are happy when we are declared innocent
joyfully sing and rejoice.
Let them continually say, "The Lord is great.
He is happy when his servants have peace."
Then our tongues will tell about your righteousness,
about your praise all day long. (10)
You have made us endure many terrible troubles.
You restore us to life again.
You bring us back from the depth of the earth.
You comfort us and make us greater than ever. (11)
During times of trouble we called on the Lord.
The Lord answered us and set us free from all of them.
It is better to depend on the Lord then trust mortals.
It is better to depend on the Lord then to trust influential people. (12)
We wait for the Lord, our souls wait,
and with hope we wait for his word. (13)
Loudly, we cry to the Lord.
Loudly we plead with the Lord for mercy.
We pour our complaints in his presence,
and tell him our troubles.
When we begin to lose hope,
You already know what we are experiencing. (14)
A righteous person will always be remembered.
We are not afraid of the bad news.
Our hearts remain secure, full of confidence in the Lord.
Our hearts are steady, and we are not afraid.
In the end we will look triumphantly at our enemies.
The wicked people see this and become angry.
They angrily grit their teeth and disappear.
The hope of those wicked people will vanish. (15)
O Lord blessed is the person
whom you discipline and instruct from your teachings.
You give us peace and quiet from times of trouble,
while a pit is dug to trap wicked people.
When we said "Our feet are slipping,"
Your mercy O Lord continued to hold us up.
When we worried about many things,
Your assuring words soothed our souls. (16)
We call your name from the deepest pit, O Lord.
Listen for our cries for help.
Don't close your eyes when we cry out for relief.
Be close at hand when we call to you.
You told us not to be afraid.
Plead our cases for us, O Lord. Reclaim our lives.
Look at the wrongs that have been done to us. (17)
We will look to the Lord.
We will wait for God to save us.
We will wait for our God to listen to us.
Don't laugh at us, our enemies.
Although we have fallen we will get up.
Although we will sit in the dark, the Lord is our light.
Then our enemies will see this, and be covered with shame,
because they asked us,"Where is the Lord your God?"
Now we look at them.
They are trampled like mud in the streets. (18)
The reason we can still find hope is that we keep this
one thing in mind: The Lord's mercy. We were not
completely wiped out. His compassion is never limited.
It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. Our
souls can say, "Lord is our lot in life. That is
why we find hope in him. The Lord is good to those
who wait for him, to anyone who seeks help from him.
It is good to continue to hope and wait silently
for the Lord to save us." (19)
Lord please pay attention to our prayers and
to the prayers of all your other servants who want
to worship your name. (20)
In the name of our High Priest and Redeemer, the
Christ, through the power and intercession of the Holy Spirit,
our Comforter, we pray in faith, hope and love. Amen!
(1) Psalm 5:1-3
(2) Psalm 6:2-4
(3) Psalm 6:8-10; 7: 1-2
(4) Psalm 10:12
(5) Psalm 13:3-6
(6) Psalm 16:5-6; 17:2a, 4-9
(7) Psalm 18:1, 16-17a, 28-30, 32
(8) Psalm 27:3-4: 6a, 12-14
(9) Psalm 31:1a, 4b-5, 7-8, 15-18
(10) Psalm 35:1-3a; 4, 6, 17b -18, 26b-28
(11) Psalm 71: 20-21a
(12) Psalm 118:5; 8-9
(13) Psalm 130: 5
(14) Psalm 142: 1-3
(15) Psalm 112: 6-8; 10
(16) Psalm 94:12-13; 18-19
(17) Lamentations 3:55-59
(18) Micah 7:7-8, 10
(19) Lamentations 3:21-26
(20) Nehemiah 1:11a
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
Spiritual Resource Services © May, 2001
Bible quotations are based and taken from "God's Word," a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. Used by permission.
Responses are welcome at: Reflections@prayergear.com
What's New/Article Index <>< Home/Welcome Page <>< Weekly Reflections Listing