When things are tough. When each day is a struggle. When you’re feeling afraid. When the future feels uncertain. When life feels like a battle, what should you pray?
Psalm 144 a psalm for the battle: ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war.’
The words of this psalm are not just nice words. They’re not just there to comfort us. They’re there to be used. To be declared. To be believed. To be prayed.
Ten particular prayer-words are used, for us to use (in vv5-8). These words are all verbs. What grammar-experts call imperatives. They’re words used in prayer to God, asking him to come and help. When life feels like a battle, this is what you should pray.
‘Part your heavens, Lord’
In the battle God can feel distant. So pray and invite him to be present. Ask him to not just stay in heaven, but to be with you here on earth.
Keep welcoming his presence. Let him know that you want to encounter him and know he is with you in all you’re going through. ‘Come Holy Spirit’ is not a prayer just for the good times. It’s a prayer for the battle.
‘Touch the mountains, so they smoke’
Pray for his powerful touch to be tangibly seen. In the past, God’s people experienced his presence as he touched Mount Sinai, causing it to smoke. Similarly ask the Lord for his presence to be similarly experienced, seen and known.
‘Send forth lightning’
God has resources in heaven to send. So pray for help and ask him to send them. Lightning is strong. Electric. Targeted. Ask him to direct his great resources to just the right part of the battle.
‘Scatter the enemy’
Ask the Lord to impact the opposition. Ask that whatever or whoever is coming against you, will not only stop but be dissipated, divided and diffused.
‘Shoot your arrows’
God has arrows to send. Arrows to influence and change the course of the battle. Don’t be afraid to ask him to shoot.
‘Rout the enemy’
It’s not wrong to pray for victory. That the enemy will be defeated. That the battle will end. So ask.
‘Reach down your hand from on high’
God’s hand is powerful, so keep praying for him to be at work and very involved in the battle. May his hands help you hands. May his hands do the fighting.
This is prayer asking to be saved. Sometimes that’s exactly how it feels. I can’t get out of this on my own. I need a Saviour. His name is Jesus Christ. So pray for his deliverance.
When in trouble, pray to be rescued. Pray for angel armies to come. Pray for an end. Pray for peace.
That’s how to pray in the battles of life. Pray in line with Scripture. Pray Scripture.
So read Psalm 144 and turn it into prayer. Do so recognising that this is the God who knows you and is with you. This is the One who is not just ‘a’ rock, but ‘my Rock’ (v1). Strong and sturdy. Immovable and impregnable. Yet personal, and ‘loving.’ ‘My fortress.’ ‘My stronghold.’ ‘My deliverer.’ ‘My shield’ (v2).
So don’t give up. Instead, pray. Pray to him (vv5-8). And praise him for who he is and what he does (vv1-4). Keep worshipping and singing to him in the midst of the battle (vv9-11). And as you do that, let him fill you with hope for the future (vv12-15). Because a new day is coming. The battle won’t last for ever.