Praying Through Times of Testing
Sometimes you can read a chapter or a passage of verses in the Bible that feels like the person writing is sitting near you, telling you a story. That’s how Psalm 66 lands on me. It’s conversational as if the writer is talking to an actual person, and he’s telling the account passionately in just a few words. In these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion by sharing his words with you, and then use them as a framework for a prayer you and I can pray through times of testing.
Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
The first section calls the friend or audience to come in close. He wants you to see with your mind and heart what God has accomplished. No. They were not there to experience the wonders described, but they have been the benefactors. They didn’t watch the people cross the Red Sea, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.
Because of what God has done (that which we did not see but can experience the effects) the writer drawer on the listener to raise her eyes upward. Stop and praise the Lord in a manner He can hear it from you. Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.
9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
God has kept you alive.
Think of all your near misses. Do any come to mind? Personally, I have experienced more than enough to legitimize this point. I’ve walked away from a plane crash in was in, car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, as an infant, I wasn’t expected to make it out of the hospital alive. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. The bottom line is this: If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!
Then our writer does something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate.
10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
God uses tests, nets, and enemies
According to Scripture, there are times in our lives when God tests us. He brings us “into the net.” Not that He leads us into situations so that we will fail or will be destroyed, but He will allow circumstances, difficulties, bad guys, and impossible situations access to us without intervening. In other words, God allows adversity that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant–just one thing after another, on purpose.
I wouldn’t do it His way. You and I might even say, we don’t like His way. It’s been awful at times. Crushing. Painful. And difficult. Yet, the Psalmist is not finished:
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
Yes, we go through the times of testing, but He does not leave us there in the net, or in the storm, fire, or dying under the weight of it all. I don’t believe the Psalmist is saying there is a particular location on this planet this side of heaven that is absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. But there is abundance in reliance on Jesus through the mess, looking upward at Him through the difficulties rather than focusing on what doesn’t last and cannot save. And it’s right here for us to use as we pray.
This one is a prayer that helps turn our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God in gratitude. If we are in the middle of the difficulties, buried under the weight, we can pray for Him to be true to this word. Also, we can pray for this victory and the presence of God over someone else, which is what I am about to do for you.
A Prayer for Times of Testing
In this moment, I bless your Name. Thank you for the mighty works you have done to get us here today, praying, and able to know your Word freely. More specifically, I thank you for the life of my friend reading. For Your perfect purposes You have preserved her. Help her live in complete assurance and freedom. There is no accident, coincidence, or mistake that You have provided for her presence, her abilities, her availabilities, and her positioning.
We know that to ready her, equip her, and to show her to Whom she belongs, You have tested and will test her. In fact, You may be testing her now, allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains and struggles we cannot alleviate. So Lord, I ask that you give her the strength to rely on You. Help her to see through to the end, keeping her eyes looking upward, and not be given to discouragement. Give her eyes to see beyong the testing toward Your abundance–whatever that looks like from Your perspective.
In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.
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