Sermon Detail

Strength for the Journey Prayer: Fighting to See the Hope to Which We are Called

October 01, 2023 | Buster Brown

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, HAVING THE EYES OF YOUR HEART ENLIGHTENED THAT YOU MAY KNOW WHAT IS THE HOPE TO WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places..."  Ephesians 1:15-20

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, 'Where is your God?' These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: 'Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?' As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, 'Where is your God?' Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."  Psalm 42:1-11

Q 38: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving. New City Catechism

“Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.”  C.S. Lewis

In Psalm 42, the Psalmist finds himself weeping day and night over the difficulties of life. Furthermore, he said he cannot find his footing in the crashing surf (v. 7), he feels as if he has a deadly wound (v. 10), and is surrounded by people who mock his faith (vv. 3 & 10). In light of these difficulties how does the Psalmist approach the inevitable problems, discouragements, and sorrows of life?

1. He asks why? The Psalms reflect raw emotion and honesty before the living God. 

2. He knows God will bring him out of his difficulties (v. 5 & 11). In the present context the Psalmist is waiting for his emotional state to get in step with his convictions (vv. 8-9).

3. He sings of the tender mercies of the Lord (v. 8; Acts 16:16-25). Paul and Silas were falsely accused, forcibly dragged into the marketplace before the rulers, had to endure mob accusations, were beaten with rods, and chained in stocks in the inner bowels of a prison. 

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them..."  Acts 16:25

4. He preaches to himself. 

"The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience."  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, pp. 20-21

5. He remembers (v. 4; Psalm 103:1-5).


1. Why is it inevitable that all believers have experiences like Psalm 42?

2. If the saying “time heals all wounds” is incorrect, what brings healing to the broken-hearted?

3. How do we preach the Good News of the Gospel to ourselves everyday instead of letting outside issues crowd out the glory of Christ?

4. What was the controlling thought in the hymn “It is Well With My Soul”?

5. How do we express thanksgiving as we remember?