In coping with stress, our first response should be…
Psalm 4:1 (NIV)
1 Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
Prayer is still the best place to start in response to any problem we might face in life. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).
Our Heavenly Father wants to provide us with the relief that we so desperately need. But, it falls to us to ask, seek, and knock.
There are three parts to David’s prayer in verse one:
praise, appreciation, and petition.
First, He starts by saying, “O my righteous God.” David is praising God for who He is. It is important sometimes for us to take our eyes off ourselves and realize the goodness and greatness of our God.We need to remember that this life is not all about us, but It’s about God.
Second, David expresses appreciation to God,saying, ” Give me relief from my distress.” He is acknowledging that God alone is the one who can relieve him of his stress, and David is thankful for that. Many times when we are stressed out over something we have a hard time remembering all the good that we have experienced in life.
David reflects on the past with a heart of thankfulness. God has done some wonderful things in our lives, often using stressful circumstances to bring about His purposes. By appreciating what God has done in the past we, again, stop focusing inward and start looking upward!
Third, David makes his petition, “be merciful to me and hear my prayer..” David asks for grace and mercy in this situation. Perhaps David realized that his trouble was, at least in part, a result of his past sins. Sometimes deliverance from our distress is as simple as saying, “God, if I’ve brought this trouble on myself I’m asking You to forgive me.” It is truly amazing how gracious God is willing to be to us,if only we would ask Him.
Evangelist John R. Rice once wrote: I once imagined I was in Heaven. Walking along with the angel Gabriel, I said, “Gabe, what is that big building there?”
“You’ll be disappointed,” he answered. “I don’t think you want to see it.” But I insisted, and he showed me floor after floor of beautiful gifts, all wrapped and ready to be sent.
“Gabriel, what are all these?”
He said, I thought rather sadly, “We wrapped all these things, but you never asked for them.” (Nelson’s p.631)
Truly God has great gifts ready for us, if we are willing to ask for them. Psychologists tell us that, in many cases,simply talking to someone about our problems will help us put things in perspective. So Talking to God through prayer, is perhaps the greatest gift we have been given; and, by taking advantage of that gift, we can greatly reduce the stress in our lives.
So let’s follow David’s example when coping with the stresses of life.
Supplication should be our first response to stress.
Come back tomorrow for part 3!
God bless you as you serve Him,