1 Lord, hear my prayer. In Your faithfulness listen to my plea, and in Your righteousness answer me. 2 Do not bring Your servant into judgment, for no one alive is righteous in Your sight. 3 For the enemy has pursued me, crushing me to the ground, making me live in darkness like those long dead. 4 My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay. 5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands. 6 I spread out my hands to You; I am like parched land before You. Selah 7 Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Don’t hide Your face from me, or I will be like those going down to the Pit. 8 Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You. 9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I come to You for protection. 10 Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. 11 Because of Your name, Yahweh, let me live. In Your righteousness deliver me from trouble, 12 and in Your faithful love destroy my enemies. Wipe out all those who attack me, for I am Your servant.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
David is a in a rough spot. He feels crushed. He’s in dismay. And how does he deal with it? Prayer, yes. But more specifically, he comes out of a desperate funk by remembering.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done.”
One remedy for dark times is to reflect on better times—and not just better times, but times when God showed up. See, David had been in tough spots before. And in those crucibles, God had been faithful. So David is simply reminding himself of what he already knows because he’s already experienced it, that God is good.
God will rescue us and turn a heart of dismay into a heart of gladness. David is confident of what God has done historically, so in the present moment he can declare, “Your righteousness will deliver me from trouble.”
In preparing for a recent talk to a group of men on journaling, I decided to review some of my past journal entries. From the top of my closet, I pulled out old journals dating back to college.
Upon rereading them, two things were clearly evident:
- I have really bad handwriting.
- I have forgotten about some difficult times in my life and how God walked me through them.
As I read I kept saying to myself, “I had totally forgotten about that struggle, or emotion, or point of desperation.” My journal not only recalled for me what I was experiencing at the time, but it became a testimony of what God had done in that difficult season. I had a history of God’s work in my life. This energized me. It reminded me that God has always been working in my life, and I can trust Him with all things.
Do you have a way to remember the Lord’s work? Don’t trust your mind. It won’t be enough. Because of the pain we go through, our minds actually try to suppress feelings. A written record is one way to be able to revisit them. Not to re-live the pain, but to see God’s work in your pain.
Perhaps in the margins of your Bible, but even better in a journal, tell the story of God’s working in your life. Write the junk without restraint. Write how you’re feeling, like David did. And as God brings a solution, or peace, or friends into your life, write about those too.
- Once a week, record some of the things you or those you love need. It can simply be a listing of prayer requests.
- Once a week, record anything God has provided as a response to what you wrote the previous week.
- A written record can help you to get to the same place David was: desperate in the moment, but because he could “remember” and “reflect,” confident in God.