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Devotional: “Praying When You Suffer” (20 Jan 2019)

We’re working through the Old Testament book of Lamentations at our Sunday morning worship services. A high-point in the book is how experiencing suffering under God’s hand often leads to a clearer revelation of who God is and what he is like.

For this reason, Jeremiah recommends praying as a first port-of-call in suffering.

“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)

But how do you pray when you suffer? Sickness, conflict and loss can leave even a Christian overwhelmed and bewildered, and not knowing where to start or what to say.

 The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes beyond words when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26), but sometimes reading and reflecting on the prayers other Christians have prayed can be very helpful to give words to the thoughts of our hearts. This is where books of prayers come in, such as The Valley of Vision collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.

Here’s a prayer on “Weaknesses” (language slightly updated). You might want to make it your own.

“O Spirit of God, help my infirmities;

When I am pressed down with a load of sorrows, perplexed and not knowing what to do, slandered and persecuted, made to feel the weight of the cross, help me, I pray.

If you see in me any wrong thing encouraged, any evil desire cherished, any delight that is not your delight, any habit that grieves you, any nest of sin in my heart, then grant me the kiss of your forgiveness and teach my feet to walk the way of your commandments.

Deliver me from burdens of worry, and make me a happy, holy person; Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step, and to wrestle successfully against weakness; Teach me to honour, adore and magnify you, with the music of heart, and make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude to you.

I do not crouch at your feet as a slave before a tyrant, but exult before you as a son with a father.

Give me power to live as your child in all my actions, and to exercise sonship by conquering “self”.

Preserve me from the intoxication that comes of prosperity;  Sober me, when I am glad with a joy that does not come from you.

Lead me safely on the road to the eternal kingdom, not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.

I request only to see the face of Him I love, to be content with bread to eat, and clothing to put on, if I can be brought to your house in peace. Amen.”

 

– p. 103, The Valley of Vision, by Arthur G. Bennet, (c) 1975 The Banner of Truth Trust

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