Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Ever have those days when you don’t know what to pray or what to say, you just know something doesn’t feel right? Maybe you cover up the void by eating more, watching more TV, or by resorting to other unhealthy habits: trying to drown the feeling and hoping it will be better when you wake up tomorrow. Well, I have a better solution to help you uncover and purge those feelings in a healthy way.
A spiritual father once told my husband Alex and I that when he doesn’t know what to pray, he goes to a quiet place and reads Psalms out loud until he finds his own voice in them.
The Psalms is a collection of songs and poetry penned by various ancient scribes and kings of Israel, most of them by King David. Every emotion can be found in the Psalms from fear, rage, and hopelessness to celebration, praise, and passionate love. King David sets a wonderful example for us of what it looks like to be undone before God, holding back no part of ourselves: what it looks like to cultivate true intimacy with our Heavenly Father. We also get to witness how he strengthened himself in every season. Though he never sacrificed honesty about what he was feeling or thinking for the sake of looking more holy, he never ended where he began. David worked his way out of every slump by speaking God’s promises over himself and remembering all God had done for him.
Reading the Psalms in this way is something my husband and I have both practiced continually ever since, frequently reminding each other of the practice when we’re having a hard day. It has always been powerful and effective. Some days, I may find my voice in The Psalms right away and other days I have to read quite a few chapters before I get there, but I always get there. When I do, the root of the funk I’m in is uncovered, and I am simultaneously giving it to God, praying with David and encouraging myself with him of how kind, good, loving, powerful, beautiful and mighty to save our God is. You can’t go wrong!