When You Feel Hopeless, Pray Specifically
“I called to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me. From the depths of my watery grave I cried for help, and you heard my cry” (Jonah 2:2 GW).
When you know what’s causing your hopelessness, you can begin to pray specifically for what you need. That’s how God wants you to talk with him.
And as you pray specifically, I encourage you to take Scripture and pray it back to God. It’s the key to asking God for help!
That’s what Jonah did when he sank into the ocean and was swallowed by a large fish. In his short prayer in Jonah 2, he prayed eight different Scriptures. Everything he said is a quote from the book of Psalms. Jonah was obviously well-versed in Scripture.
What verses should you pray back to God?
- Pray the laments of God. When you’re angry, go back to one of the laments in Psalms or the book of Lamentations and pray those complaints back to God.
- Pray the truth about God. Pray what the Bible says about God—about his goodness, his fairness, and his justice. All of those topics are in the Bible.
- Pray the promises of God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “God, I need you to keep your word. I need you to do what you’ve promised.” Then I’ll pray one of the promises of God I’ve memorized.
Make a point to study God’s Word every single day so that, like Jonah, you can pray God’s Word back to him. And as you do, God will bring hope back into your life.
Talk It Over
What can you do to become better acquainted with the Bible so you can more readily pray Scripture back to God?
What Scriptures do you find particularly comforting when you’re feeling down?
Of the three kinds of prayers discussed today—laments, truth about God, God’s promises—which do you believe would be the most helpful for you to pray right now? Why?
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This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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