A Prayer for the Melancholy and Fearful

Lord, strengthen the weak hands, and steady the feeble knees. Say to those that have a fearful heart, ‘Be encouraged, have no fear.’ Answer them with comforting words that are suited to their distress. Say to them, ‘Cheer up! Your sins are forgiven. Have confidence! It is I. Have no more fear. For I am your salvation.’ Let them hear the voice of joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice. (Isa 35:3-4; Heb 12:12; Zech 1:13; Matt 9:3; Mark 6:50; Ps 35:3; 51:8).

Rebuke Satan the tempter, the one who constantly accuses the brothers. Covenant Lord, rebuke him, for you have chosen Jerusalem despite the filth of its sin. Let tempted, troubled souls be as brands plucked right out of a blazing fire. Give special help to those who are so overwhelmed with problems that they refuse to be comforted. Be with them when every remembrance of you troubles them. Enable them to trust the final outworkings of your mercy. Let them be confident that in due time they will rejoice in your salvation. Though you slay them, let them keep trusting you (Zech 3:2; Ps 77:2-3; 13:5; Job 13:15).

All your waves and your billows engulf me. The depths of the waters below echo the depths of the waters above as the downpours descend from you. Yet command your lovingkindness for me throughout the day. Let your song be with me in the night, for I will direct my prayer to you, the God of my life. Though my soul is cast down and deeply disturbed, enable me to continually hope in you. In the end, let me praise you. Let experience repeatedly teach me that you are the source of my good health, and you alone are my God (Ps 42:7-8, 11).

Refresh the life of an upright spirit in me. Do not cast me away from your presence. Never take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of my salvation, and put in me a spirit willing to be led by you. Let my tongue sing aloud of your righteousness, and show forth your salvation. Pull me out of this slimy pit, this mire and muck. Set my feet on a rock. Steady my steps and put a new song in my mouth, even praises to my God. Make me glad for as many days as you have afflicted me, for as many years as I have seen trouble (Ps 51:10-14; 71:15; 40:2-3; 90:15).

Though for a brief moment you have banished your people from your presence, yet in your great compassion restore them to yourself once more. Though you have hid your face from them, have mercy on them according to your everlasting kindness. By the blood of Christ purge all guilt from their conscience. Let your Spirit bear firm witness with their spirits that they are your children (Isa 54:7-8; Heb 10:14, 22; Rom 8:16).

[From Matthew Henry’s book, A Way to Pray]

*Originally posted December 31, 2012.

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