Daily Bible Reading Reflections

What Can You Pray When Your Life is in Ruins?

Today’s Bible reading is Psalm 79. It’s a difficult song to read.

O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the heavens for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us. (Psa 79:1-4)

One of the most painful aspects of this tragedy? Asaph, the psalm’s author, knows why. He uses words like “iniquity” and “sin” to describe the why. And yet, the burning question in Asaph’s mind is “How long, O LORD?” How long will this go on? How long will the consequences of our sin last?

What can you pray when life is in ruins? As disciples of Jesus, we live at a different place and time, under very different circumstances. But what can we pray when the temple of our bodies (1 Cor 6:19) has been defiled? What can we pray when our dreams are in ruins? What can I pray when my reputation has been shattered because of my sinful choices?

Thank God there is light in Psalm 79. Having described in painful detail the devastation of life on the other side of rebellion against the LORD, Asaph pleads with the Holy One. If you’ll allow me to change the “we” and “us” to “me” and “I,” what we find are seeds for prayer, even when life is in ruins:

  • Help me, O God of my salvation
  • I am brought very low
  • Atone for my sins
  • Do not remember against me my former iniquities
  • Let your compassion come speedily to meet me
  • Deliver me for the glory of your name
  • Then, I will give thanks to you forever
  • From generation to generation I will recount your praise

What can you pray when life is in ruins? Psalm 79 is full of God-breathed help.

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