Faith and feelings – praying my emotions (Prayer day 21)

Our emotions are neither our masters to whom we submit, nor our enemies whom we resist. Rather, our emotions are like warning lights that help us, drawing attention to our relation health.

For today’s devotional study and reflection, consider listening to this song from Casting Crowns.

Scripture

Psalm 43:1-5

1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!

2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!

4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Observations and reflections

  1. Note all the emotion-laden words and phrases. How many of the psalmist’s emotions could you identify? What can you presently identify with most in this psalm?
  2. What do you read of the psalmist’s emotions in the two questions he asks God in verse 2?
  3. Could you identify the pivotal point in this psalm? Why would the psalmist’s prayer in verse 3 change his emotional state?
  4. It would seem as though the psalmist could be satisfied, and the prayer ended in verse 4. What significant lesson is learnt by the addition of verse 5?

Personal reflection and Application

We are emotional beings. Neither suppressing nor succumbing to our emotions is helpful. But our emotions are ques, prompting us to re-evaluate our relational health in God’s presence, asking for his “light and truth” – his perspective on our circumstances, which brings us love, hope and joy.

Let’s pray according to Psalm 43. To help you put words to feelings, make use of this emotion wheel.

emotion_wheel1.png

  1. Prayerfully look at this emotion wheel, and name the most prominent positive emotion you can presently identify with. Who and what situation is related to this emotion? Tell God why do you feel this emotion. Find other emotions related to this situation to describe how you feel. What would you like God to do for you, and what does God want from you in this situation?
  2. Now, prayerfully name the most prominent negative emotion you can presently identify with. Who and what situation is related to this emotion? Tell God why do you feel this emotion, and what other emotions you also feel about this situation. Pray what you would like God to do for you, and what does God want from you in this situation?
  3. Pray with the psalmist for discernment of God’s presence and perspective: “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me!”
  4. After meeting with God about this situation, how would you direct your emotions, as the psalmist did in verse 5? Speak to your own soul, and take charge of your emotions.

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