Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.”
This psalm is a lament; it’s a cry of desperation to God. There is probably no stronger expression of fear and anxiety than in these opening lines of Psalm 77.
The psalmist’s prayer is intense because of distress. The distress is so intense that he finds he cannot sleep day or night. Rather than sleep, he spends his time praying. He is stretching his hands out to God in prayer and continues to lift up his hands in prayer at night. Yet even in his prayer, he cannot find rest. He cannot find comfort. Neither himself nor others can comfort him. He is looking to God as the sole comforter of his soul.
Have you ever felt like the psalmist? I have. I’m grateful there have only been a few times in my life where I experienced the weight of despair. I know there are others who have gone through times of despair with more intensity and frequency than I have.
During those times in my life, distress was so intense that it kept me awake day and night. It’s a terrible feeling and a terrible place to be. I can remember the pit that was in my stomach. I felt so bad; I just wanted to be rescued from my dilemma. Looking back on my own situation, I realize I was just like the psalmist; I needed God alone to rescue me! No one could help me; I needed God to move. My thoughts turned to Him day and night. Desperate prayer consumed me. He was my only Hope. He was my heavenly hope! All I could do was call out to Him.
I needed something more than an earthly hope. Earthly hopes are fragile; it’s really no hope at all. It’s the kind of hope where you cross your fingers and “hope” to make it. I needed a heavenly hope! Heavenly hope is a vision of redemption in the midst of the decay. This kind of hope is only found in God. It’s the kind of hope that leads us to become more and more like Him and at the same time assures us that we will always be with Him. Any other kind of hope falls far short and only leads to disappointment.
Maybe today you find yourself distressed because of life. It could be pain, sorrow, anguish, worry, or anxiety. What kind of hope do you trust in…an earthly kind of hope or a heavenly hope?
Choose the heavenly hope! Keep your eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Know that because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. He did this for us so we would not grow weary and lose heart. (See Heb. 12:2-3 for literal translation)
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.