“A Lifestyle of Prayer”
Hope For the Downcast!
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Psalm 42:5 (NIV)
This week’s prayer focus is about overcoming despair or feelings of being “downcast”. I found it interesting that a word search of the NIV found few uses of the word despair, but plenty of examples of people who, in their despair, cried out to God. Often they are described as being “downcast”, which I believe is an accurate term in describing despair. Whatever the cause of our despair, God wants us to overcome it through His presence and the power of His Spirit within us. This week we will consider some Bible characters who were feeling downcast and learn from their situations some keys in overcoming despair. As you pray, consider God’s desire for you to overcome feelings of being downcast. Pray that you would turn to God in good times, as well as in times of despair. Pray that you would recognize the despair of others and ask God how He would have you bring His comfort and hope to them. Pray for the courage to turn despair into hope as you put your faith and trust in Him. Pray that you would be lifted up so you can help lift up others from their despair.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
Please pray each day for God’s help in finding and sharing hope in the midst of despair.
Sunday: Pray for your church staff, the preaching and teaching that takes place, the church leadership, the volunteers that are helping in so many areas, the spiritual and financial health of the congregation, and the work of the missions ministry of the church. Pray for me (Tom Lemler) and the work of Impact Prayer Ministry.
Monday: Hope In Doing Right. Pray that you would accurately examine your life for sin that could be causing your despair. Pray for the courage to repent of sin and do what is right. Pray that you would grow in the hope which comes through obedience to Christ. “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV)
Tuesday: Hope Through Answered Prayer. Pray that you would be diligent in going to God in prayer during times of despair. Pray that God’s faithfulness in answering prayer would lift you from your despair. “Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.’ She said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” 1 Samuel 1:17-18 (NIV)
Wednesday: Hope In God’s Presence. Pray that you would be reminded of God’s presence when your despair comes from feelings of being alone. Pray that the presence of God, which surrounds you everywhere, would lift your soul. “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar.” Psalm 42:6 (NIV)
Thursday: Hope Through Deliberate Praise. Pray that your hope in God would lead you to praise Him even in the midst of despair. Pray that your life would be lived in a way that leads others to praise God for the hope He offers. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (NIV)
Friday: Hope Through Time With Jesus. Pray that your despair would lead you to a closer walk with Jesus. Pray that God’s Word would burn within you as you examine it during times of despair. “He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” Luke 24:17, 32 (NIV)
Saturday: Hope Through the Comfort of Others. Pray that you would experience the comfort of God through the presence of His people. Pray that your presence would be a comfort to others who feel despair. Pray that you would be a bearer of hope as you represent Jesus to others. “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)