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Christian Living

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Grin and Grow with Kathy 05/27/20

A Little Pandemic Help

I AM patient, Lord. I WILL wait on you. But I need help NOW!

STORY: Pandemic Panic

I have been both disappointed and inspired by people’s responses during this pandemic. (And if I reflect inward, a little of both toward my own attitudes and actions.) When I think of the advice I’d give others, I try to apply that same “wisdom” to my own situations. I am no different than they are, and we have the same God.

One thing I think we all have in common is that there’s a cry inside of us. For some, it feels stuffed down or trapped. Yet others cry easily, and say nothing big triggers the crying spells. They just happen, with no sense of being able to control it. Perhaps the burden that triggers the internal or external cry stems from the worries of this world. There’s a desire for normalcy, safety, provision, and wellness.

It’s not a new thing, to cry out to the Lord for help. Today we will continue our word study on help in the Psalms, and focus on verses that also mention crying out in prayer.

STUDY: Cry for God’s Help

I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. (Psalm 69:3 NLT)
  • I feel great sympathy for this psalmist. What are some physical symptoms you have experienced when you have cried out to the Lord for help?
  • What is it like waiting for God to help? Does it draw you closer to God or further away?
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. (Psalm 5:2 NLT)
  • Have you ever cried out for help with a person or to God, and felt like saying, “Listen to me”? What causes you to be so desperate to feel the need to say that?
  • David prayed this prayer. How did he address God?
  • Why do you think David found it significant to mention he’s not praying to anyone else?
  • We might not pray to other gods, but what or who do we turn to when we are in the need for help?
O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips. (Psalm 17:1 NLT)
  • In this passage, the psalmist again feels the need to ask for the Lord to hear him. (Hear. Listen. Pay attention.) What is he pleading for here?
  • The prayer comes from honest lips. This means the psalmist made sure he was right with the Lord before asking for help. Sin can get in the way of us coming to God with clean hands. Take time to repent and recommit if you’ve allowed wrongdoing or wrong thinking to creep into your life.

But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalm 18:6 NLT)

Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. (Psalm 28:2 NLT)

  • I’ve been seeing this word “distress” lately and dividing it into the words “die” and “stress.” Maybe we need to die to our stress. Or simply tell our stress to die!
  • How must it feel to cry out to God for help and know he hears? This passage says God heard from his sanctuary. What does that imply to you? An imperfect human launched a prayer to a holy God, and God heard.
  • What does “lift my hands” symbolize to you? Does it have more meaning, when you imagine the one doing it praying for mercy?
O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry! Listen when I cry to you for help! (Psalm 141:1 NLT)
  • The psalmist is desperate. Imagine if he was calling 9-1-1 for help, the same tone of voice would be used as he cries out here.
  • What prayer do you wish God would hurry up and answer?
Give victory to our king, O Lord! Answer our cry for help. (Psalm 20:9 NLT)
  • When was the last time you prayed for your elected officials and other leaders in service?
  • When it comes to praying for those in politics, what do your cries for help include?

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1 NLT)

Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! (Psalm 55:1 NLT)

  • David addressed these two psalms to the choir director—the one leading the singers of the psalm. In Psalm 55, he even designates the stringed instruments to play.
  • In Psalm 40, David is waiting patiently. Do you think he sounds as patient in his Psalm 55 prayer?
  • It seems unusual in 2020 to base a song on the fact that the songwriter waited patiently for the Lord to help. But that isn’t the focus of this song, is it? If we were writing this song today, where would we focus our words?
In panic I cried out, “I am cut off from the Lord!” But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help. (Psalm 31:22 NLT)
  • Why is the psalmist in a panic?
  • Have you ever felt cut off from the Lord?
  • When you have felt that way, how much more magnitude does it have to know God hears and God helps?

STEPS: Seek God First

  1. When overwhelmed, pray. “From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.” (Psalm 61:2 NLT)
  2. Start your day with a hope-filled prayer. I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. (Psalm 119:147 NLT)

Copyright © 2020 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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