Praying in Moments of Crisis
By Shawn Kennedy
On April 15th, 2013, two bombs exploded on the finish line of the Boston Marathon injuring over a hundred people and ending the life of at least three. It was a crisis moment of great despair, uncertainty, chaos and pain. In the wake of it all, we are left with more questions than answers. One of the practical, yet profound questions that many followers of Jesus face in times like this is the question, “How Do I Pray?”
We know how to pray in moments of celebration, but do we know how to pray in moments of pain and crisis? What do we say? What is our posture before God? How vulnerable should we be? What should we ask God to do?
We could turn many places in scripture for advice and direction, but I think the best place to turn is to the Psalms. The Psalms are full of vulnerability, transparency and authenticity. It is there that we find solace and a sense of what it looks like to engage with God in prayer through moments of crisis.
.: PRAYING THROUGH MOMENTS OF PAIN FROM THE PSALMS *Special thanks and credit to Pastor David Sanford for his work and writings in this area.
CRY OUT AND ASK FOR GOD’S HELP
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer” – Psalm 61:1
“Hasten, O God, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me” – Psalm 70:1
SHARE YOUR FRUSTRATION AND FEELINGS OF PAIN
“We are objects of reproach to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us” – Psalm 79:4
“How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men!” -Psalm 89:46-47
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU WANT GOD TO DO FOR YOU
“Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble” – Psalm 90:15
“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: `The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death’” – Psalm 102:18-20
HONESTLY EVALUATE AND CONFESS YOUR HEART
“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame” -Psalm 119:30-31
“I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands” – Psalm 119:176
AFFIRM YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD AND PRAISE HIM
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” – Psalm 121:1-2
“Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 124:6-8
Shawn Kennedy is a part of the Lead Pastoral Team at Existence Church. He is the co-author of Kingdom Come: A Gospel-Centered Guide to Discipleship. Shawn has a passion for helping people love God, love others and make disciples to the glory of God.