Psalm 18 is an example of the emotional honesty of the Scriptures, which is something the church needs. Over the 32 years that I’ve been a believer, I’ve noticed a pattern among most Evangelicals; that is, that the only emotional expression that is perfectly acceptable for a “good Christian” is happiness. If we don’t portray ourselves as happy, happy, happy all the time then something must be wrong with us. Right?
Wrong. On the contrary, we find in the Scriptures, especially Psalms, every emotion that is part of the experience of serious believers. Psalm 18 is just one example. As David’s heart is gripped with fear, he prays to the Lord and exalts him as his “top security” (Alec Motyer’s translation). Here is Psalm 18:1-2,
I love you, Yahweh, my strength.
Yahweh, my crag [cliff, secure hiding place] and my fortress and my rescuer; my transcendent God, my rock in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my top security.
In the battle against anxiety, prayer is absolutely essential. Take note of verse 6: In the adversity I had I kept calling on Yahweh, and to my God I kept crying for help; from his temple he kept hearing my voice, and my cry before him for help kept coming into his ears.
Did you see the repetition of the word kept? Read the verse again. David’s battle against fear did not consist of zipping off a quick prayer to God once in a while, but it was a habit of his life. When anxious and under attack, David kept calling and kept crying for help; his cry kept coming before the ears of God. In response, God kept hearing. It was through the practice of prayer that God the Rock, fortress, and rescuer became—in David’s life experience—his top security.
Any battle plan for anxiety that does not keep constant prayer near the top of the list is inadequate and ultimately powerless against the fears that regularly rise up in our fleshly minds and hearts. Let us become people who truly pray without ceasing in order that the peace of God may secure our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!
[This article was originally posted September 14, 2016.]
*Now available: ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace (31-Day Devotional)