Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Prayer for the Discouraged

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Ps. 42:1–3

Gracious Father, your Word gives voice to every season, circumstance, and emotion we experience in the journey to gospel wholeness. In our delight and in our despair, in our certainty and in our frailty; in our cheers and in our fears—and in everything in between, you are with us and you are for us.

You don’t love us more when we have a dancing heart. You don’t love us less when we have a doubting heart. Delightful circumstances don’t mean we’ve done everything right and hard providences don’t mean we’ve done something wrong. Indeed, with kindness you drew us, and with an everlasting, unwavering love, you hold us—no matter what.

Today we bring our discouraged, weary, deeply hurting friends to you, Lord. For you tell us that when one part of the Body hurts, the whole Body hurts. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens.

Lord, sometimes it feels like life is just too much: the hard events, the difficult people, the aches and pains of this “tent” of a body; cars and plumbing that break down, friends who bury their wives way too early, children who seem allergic to the gospel, mounting bills and decreasing resources, and a world—even family members who say, “Where is your God in all this? What have you done wrong? Why are you holding on?”

Tears in our coffee and beer, on our sandwiches and in our cereal, and dry tears when there is no heart water left. Lord Jesus, you know what this is like—you better than anyone else. For you took the ultimate combination of assaults and insults on the cross, for me and my friends. Your cry, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”, assures us we will never be forsaken—never, even when life mocks our creed and confession. It’s your thirst on the cross that assures us that out thirst is fleeting, though at times it feels fatal.

Lord Jesus, as we pant for you, you are running to us with the living water of the gospel; as we starve for hope, you are preparing the fresh bread of mercy and grace. Come quickly, Lord. Show us how to love our friends well when our words are simply not enough. So very Amen we pray, in your faithful and tender name. Amen.

— via Scotty Smith

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