12/22/2014

Barely Able To Pray (Psalm 6)

Psalm 6:1-10, 2-3a

"Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony" (Ps 6:2, NLT). "...my whole being is shaken with terror" (Ps 6:3a, HCSB). "...my soul is in deep anguish" (Ps 6:3a, NIV).
From reading several different commentaries on Psalm 6, for some reason numerous (similar and different) titles for this sermon came to my mind that all seemed proper and appropriate to this psalm:
  • Crying in Helplessness.
  • Praying in Weakness.
  • Grieving Prayer.
  • Agonizing Prayer.
  • A Troubled Conscience.
  • Feeling Helpless and Hopeless.
  • Shaken by Weakness.
  • Broken and Shaken.
  • Overwhelmed, Yet Triumphant.
  • From Defeat to Defiance.
  • From Desperate Need to Great Assurance.
  • From Depression to Elation.
All of the above considerations and titles are, I think, all good, meaningful and relevant. Finally, I settled on what I think might be a not uncommon scenario among Christians: Barely Able To Pray. Notice the following stages in the psalmist's prayer, especially in times of weakness, trouble, personal sin, or God's discipline:
  1. Terror (1-5).
  2. Weeping (6-7).
  3. Answer (8-10).
To put this Psalm in some practical personal context, suppose that you:
  • hate and loathe your current life situation, or your job, or your (lack of) job prospects.
  • are filled with worry and anxiety about your very uncertain and murky future.
  • are single and rapidly getting older with not a single person as an even remote possibility for romance.
  • are tortured and tormented by some recurrent besetting sin.
  • are consumed by guilt because of your past or present sin.
  • feel you are being sorely tempted and about to fall into sin at any moment.
What then would you do?

References:

  1. Motyer, J Alec. The Psalms. New Bible Commentary. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1994.
  2. Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1 - 72: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1973.
  3. Zemek, George. Road Maps for the Psalms: Inductive Preaching Outlines Based on the Hebrew Text. Valencia, CA: The Master's Academy International, 2006.