Praying through pain and frustration (Prayer day 8)

Doubt, frustration, anger and hopelessness –  these are the backdrop of many of the Psalms.  In these model prayers we find that our negative emotions are not the enemy of peace and faith, rather, they are often the vehicle through which we approach God to find him and restore our peace and faith in God.


Psalm 13:1-6 – A prayer of David.

1  How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

2  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3  Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4  lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Observation and Reflection

  1. Notice the repeated phrase “How long?” How would you describe David’s emotional state in this prayer?  Use five to ten descriptive words to summarise David’s emotion in verse 1-2.
  2. David gives a few reasons why God should answer his prayer – what are those reasons?
  3. Compare and describe David’s emotional state in verses 1 and 6.
  4. Look at the turning point in verses 5-6.
    1. Does it seem as though David’s eternal situation have changed? Why would you say that?
    2. What did David experience that caused the change in emotions? (verse 5)
    3. What does the text suggest David has done that triggered the change in his emotions? (verse 6: “he has dealt bountifully…”)
  5. Considering Psalm 13 as a model prayer on dealing with sorrow and grief, try to identify how David prayed to God:

Verses 1-2 : eg. David bluntly told God how he felt about his current situation.

Verse 3-4 :

Verse 5-6 :

Personal Reflections and Application

David’s honesty might be offensive to “refined” Christians, but Scripture shows us that God loves honesty – and, as seen in the writings of the Prophets, He Himself is that unpretentious in his conversations with his people.  Psalm 13 invites us to be raw and direct in expressing our feelings to God, but at the same time to discern God’s activity through his presence, provision and protection within a painful situation.  Seeing the sovereign, saving hand of God in the midst of our suffering is the source of our hope and joy that carries one through.  God does not abandon his children!

  1. Become still and identify your area of greatest frustration and sorrow. (it could be your frustration and sorrows, or that of a situation that lays heavy on your heart).
    1. Bluntly express your feelings about the situation to God.
    2. Tell God what would happen if he does not come through (use Psalm 13 as guide).
    3. See if you can identify signs of God’s love and preservation within this situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to show God’s presence, providence and preservation within this situation. If you see it, thank God for his “steadfast love” and see how hope stirs in our heart.
    4. Declare your trust in God’s victory over this situation.

Note: to discern God’s presence within a painful situation might be difficult.  You might want to discuss that with a mature believer.  But take hope – you will see that God never abandons his children!

Healing the Brokenhearted 5 – a God of compassion

The aim of this devotional study of to reflect on God’s attitude to our brokenness and failures.

This 2min Sermon Jam of Matt Chandler will greatly enhance this study today.


Isaiah 49:13-17

13  Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

14  But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

15  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17  Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.


God’s afflicted people are personified in this chapter by the broken state of the destroyed city of Jerusalem.

  1. What do you learn about God’s character and attitude towards his broken people from this Text?
  2. The Lord likens his comfort, compassion and attentiveness of his people to a nursing mother. Why can a nursing mother not forget her own baby?  What do does the Lord wish to convey about his relationship to his people?

Personal Reflection

Oftentimes we get frustrated by our own brokenness and weaknesses, and therefore think that God is impatient and frustrated with us because of these imperfections.

  1. Jot down your own most prominent habitual flaws and brokenness. In simple words describe that to yourself.
  2. Reflecting on this Text, how do you expect God to relate to your brokenness and flaws?
  3. Would the God described in this Text give up on you and walk away from you because of your imperfections? What would God rather do?

Application and Prayer

Hebrews 4:15-16

15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  1. Follow the counsel of this portion to the broken, fickle congregation of Hebrews
    1. Approach God with confidence, with shame and no fear of rejection, and state your brokenness to him.
    2. Ask for mercy for your (habitual) imperfections and shortcomings, because Jesus knows what you are going through.
    3. Ask for grace (help) to restore ad heal your brokenness.
  2. Consider someone you know whose brokenness manifests in some destructive pattern.
    1. Approach God on his/her behalf and appeal for mercy (forgiveness) and grace (help), because Jesus knows what he/she is going through.