Psalms for Prayer: Day 5

A Prayer When Battling Anxiety

by

Today's Text: Psalm 27:1-14

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-14

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that in a storm, any harbor will do. When the tidal waves of life threaten to capsize our little ships, we will look anywhere for respite, often seeking shelter in places that cannot ultimately protect us. Age has alerted me to an alarming truth: the waters of life are almost always choppy. Smooth-sailing days are rare in a world as broken as ours.

Here in Psalm 27, we see David sending out the distress signal. He is looking for a lighthouse to point him toward shore. He starts with a pep talk, saying, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (v. 1). But the answer to his question must have made his knees wobble. I can imagine him now, penning words of praise with one hand, while anxiously chewing his fingernails on the other.

Through the storm of his own anxiety, he saw an army positioned to take him out. In David’s case, this army may have been literal, but we all know how it feels to be surrounded, hard pressed on every side (2 Corinthians 4:8). We see serious threats against our hearts and homes every day. But we can’t fight our fears by convincing ourselves there’s nothing to be afraid of. There is! The list of rational fears is so significant, there’s not a bucket of sand big enough for us to bury our heads and fully hide from the threat.

Recently, in my own life, physical, relational, and emotional forces collided to create the perfect storm. Many of my worst fears were realized, and my anxiety that there was more to come left me frantically searching for safe harbor. As all other life rafts sunk around me, I finally clung to God’s Word. As His truth anchored me, I found myself locking eyes with the disciples when they faced the storm.

“And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” (Mark 4:38-41 ESV, emphasis mine).

Any hope that we can calm the storms of life on our own is misplaced. We cannot. But we will find ourselves buoyed when we look for the One no storm can stand against. Ultimately, the disciples clung to the same truths that David did—the same truths that you and I can cling to:

God is faithful.
His care is relentless.
His promises are true.
His presence is the only place where our fears truly subside.

Our hope is not that the day of trouble will not come, because it will. But our God will see us through. No calamity can untether us from God and His Word. Never. When anxiety twists our stomach in knots, when we look around and see an army of threats, not just any harbor will do. But this one will:

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7).

SRT-PsalmsForPrayer-Shareimage-Day5

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

  • Alisha McWhorter

    There are times when all going on around me has me overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear. That need for perfection, the frustration in the lack there of, and knowing I can’t do it alone smacks me in the face. But through that feeling, I have found God again. I am reminded that He is my rock, my shelter and my provider—it is He who will guide me and protect me! It is through faith I find comfort and hope for what’s to come!

  • Kami Mauldin

    I think it’s funny how we often ask for God to take things away, just make them disappear. But we know that’s rarely how He works. He didn’t take the Egyptian army away, but He split the sea. He doesn’t always heal, but spits in people’s eyes and tells them where to go.

    Our trust in Him is more important than having our troubles removed. It’s comforting to know that even if the trouble isn’t removed in our timeline, that God will sit with us through it all.

  • Alyssa Baker

    That is so true. There are very few days that are smooth sailing. Father, you are my rock. I am praising you in one hand and anxious in the other…thank you for centering me on your Word.

  • Elizabeth Aouad

    Please pray for my family. This is a very stressful time. I’m keeping my eyes on the LORD, but they each need to turn to Him.

  • Amy Beth

    This is so timely for me. I had a very anxious fall due to some mystery symptoms that ultimately led to diagnosis with an autoimmune condition as well as an increased genetic risk for cancer. Though I’m feeling less anxious now that I have a diagnosis I know I am prone to worry. I recently started therapy with a Christian LPC counselor to help me take my thoughts captive.

  • Stephanie Krier

    This reading is so timely for me. I just had brain surgery (to remove a tumor ) and the steroids are causing me horrible anxiety and I can’t sleep. Even tho it’s clearly drugs causing the physiological symptoms, it’s still the Spirit that comforts me the most. A beautiful reminder to gaze on His beauty during this difficult time.

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    I could not help but reflect on the battle I experience at work…not so much the work that I do…but the dynamics in my office. Whom shall I fear?

  • Emily Mason

    I totally agree!! It’s nice to have some of those “rational” fears validated. By acknowledging them, we then have to look to God for that strength and peace.

  • Emily Mason

    This is so convicting for me, because so often we are told that we “shouldn’t” be afraid or worried about something (whatever it may be)…when in reality the fear is valid and rational. The key then is what we do with it. We have the option to dwell on those fears or be stopped by the fears (and likely no one would fault us for it) OR, we can trust in God despite them

  • Brianna Nieves

    I keep coming back to this reading. My mom always told me when I was anxious about school, my job, and life in general to remember to just put my anxiety in God’s hands. Now that I’m planning on going back to school and those anxieties may rise again, I’m looking ahead with readiness and excitement. there is still a little fear, but I know God has a plan for me and my life.

  • Janella Rollert

    Thank you for putting this into words – there are rational fears out there. Whew. My husband tells me the opposite, and that I must change my attitude. I need to look to God instead of my own attitude.

  • Peony Noirr

    ❤️

  • Jill LeGrand

    The thought of us seeking refuge and as Erin Davis said, sometimes any harbor will do….and then we realize the true place of rest. The one that only the Lord can provide. I’m so thankful this morning for His Love, His Comfort, His Place of Refuge. This reading is quite powerful.

  • Our loving heavenly Father is the only consistently good thing in our world of chaos.

  • Such good thoughts…thank you! My key word lately has been HOPE. There has been plenty heartache in my life and I can guarantee more to come. But I have hope in the God who will never leave me or forsake me and who has won the battle for my eternity. All is well…all will be well…

  • Brittany Holmes

    My church sings this Psalm directly from the scriptures. It’s beautifufk

  • Samantha Samuelsen

    How amazing God’s perfect timing is!
    As another daughter of God who has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, anxiety (and it’s root – the spirit of fear!) are constantly battling to take hold. Since 2018 began, I’ve experienced one of the worst storms of fear & anxiety that I’ve ever faced.

    BUT GOD! He’s been teaching me so much about my (our) spiritual authority because of Jesus, and it’s created such a blessing out of such turmoil.

    The Lord impressed on my heart last evening to do a 21-day Daniel fast beginning on Monday to take further territory that the enemy has tried to take captive. I share this in case anyone else is looking for another weapon to use against the enemy if facing a similar battle.

  • A long time ago I attended a Bible study where the leader asked us to draw our posture in front of Jesus.
    I drew me on my knees at his feet. He was seated and my head on His knees. His hand on my head in comfort. In times of anxiety and fear that’s how I imagine myself. It helps. I’m there a lot these days. All you ladies “going through it” – there is room at His knees with me. I feel you there today as I read your stories. We are sisters. I’m waiting for the Lord with you.

  • Thank you for this. Verses 13-14 are printed out and posted on my wall where I have my quiet time as I pray for my prodigal son to return to the LORD. I love the Amplified translation….I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the LORD.

  • I have anxiety disorder. I have had it since a child. The past two weeks have been fraught with challenges at work, including a new boss, a presentation at a large conference, and an internal crisis at work which implicated me as the culprit. I finally broke out in hives (which I’m still suffering from.)

    But God.

    As always, I knew He wouldn’t let me down. He mercifully showed me a sin and then he lifted me up. I actually offered to resign my position which was refused. And it impressed both the new boss and the CEO that I would make that very genuine offer. The Lord gave me the nudge to offer this option and I’m grateful I listened.

    As I sit here and itch I can also rest assured that the Lord is bigger than all our anxiety, all our fears, as the old hymn goes.

    Thank you for a timely post and thank God for the Psalms … and SRT.

  • Cynthia Johnston

    Oh, how beautiful this psalm is! I am a child of divorce and have battled much anxiety in my life. I know what it feels like to be forsaken by father and mother. In counseling I have learned Jesus is wanting my brokenness b/c he knows how I feel. His compassion and care for me are bringing healing to the broken pieces of my heart ♥️ He presents me to the Everlasting Father as his beloved! Glory to God!

    • Abbey Byrd

      Amen, sister. My mother left us as young children, my dad essentially disowned me suddenly after his remarriage 4 years ago. God is sovereign and has used this to draw me closer to him time and again. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, now having 3 precious babies of my own that battle can quickly ignite and leave me feeling terrified and smothered. God has been so faithful to remind me of his truths. He goes before us, he stands beside us and upholds us. There are real fears, but we can rest in knowing that in the event even our worst fears become reality, HE WILL SEE US THROUGH. HE WILL UPHOLD US. He will be glorified because he is good and faithful. God hold us close, hold us fast and grant us the wisdom to understand your truth and believe your promises. ❤️

  • Thank you for this life changing thought: His Truth anchors me. It just may be my new life motto. I will share it with a dear friend who just became a widow. This is simply expressed but it is our link to His great power.

  • Wow… I have so much bubbling up, but so little time to write. First, I have been looking forward to this study each morning. Second, I can’t say for certain I have ever really read the Psalms. I have, here and there, but not specifically as a prayer, as in this study. Third, I have been living in fear and depression lately. I was sharing my feelings with my husband yesterday, and we are both fairly certain it is related to menopause, and a high stress-high love job…. but this psalm, and devotion speaks straight to my heart. THANK YOU!

  • Jess Rivera

    Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in times of trouble, when things seem too hard or scary for me to bare, you’re always right there beside me. Bless your holy name❤️

  • Bre Berlin

    This devotional is the Lord speaking right to me, I can feel it. I have been dreading this day for weeks because my estranged father is coming in to town for my college graduation that is tomorrow. He hurt me deeply 6 years ago, and our relationship has been very difficult for me ever since. I have struggled with anxiety a lot in my life, and I have been extra anxious this week. The topic of this devotional alone was exactly what my heart needed to hear – but to make it even sweeter, Psalm 27 is my all-time favorite chapter in the Bible. It has been my safe place to retreat when I become fearful. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for drawing me back to this safe place. Thank you for being faithful and trustworthy. Thank you for being my strength in this painful time.
    I am still anticipating his arrival, so I would deeply appreciate prayers of strength, STR family.

    • Alexis

      God, I lift of Bre to you and ask that you give her comfort. She belongs to you, you are her father. You will love her and protect her from any schemes of the devil to bring her discomfort and anxiety. I pray that the time with her dad be peaceful. Amen.

    • Bg

      Bre. I am praying for peace and encouragement as you face this stressful situation. I am praying that your father surprises you with the love and support you need…and for reconciliation in your relationship. This is such an important day for you…and you deserve to be celebrated.

  • Mamajonk

    Never more timely than this morning. Sisters, please join me in praying for my sister Lynn and a young man who has been like a son to her. He just relapsed after being sober for six years in his battle with opiods. This is so heartbreaking for them both. Please come along side us and lift this young man up praying these chains will be broken and that God will be glorified.

    • Nancy

      Praying for your sister and her young friend. Addiction controls so many lives and I pray he can find Jesus in the midst of this to help lift him out of this pit. I’ve been through similar with my daughter and she is five years clean, but I continue to lift her up everyday for God to help her stay sober. Stay strong!

  • Once again, this came just at the right time. I’m going to read it over again during my break today. It’s comforting to know and it’s a great reminder that God is in controland he cares about my anxieties. Next week I face court again. Prayers are appreciated.

  • Karyssa Schrouder

    I woke up with my stomach in knots this morning already anxious and overwhelmed with the thought of applications for residency programs and away rotations. I was hoping today would be a psalm for stress and low and behold I open SRT to find “a prayer when battling anxiety”. I don’t always feel like God is “on my side” because I worry sin has removed His blessings from me, but this was so needed. I truly felt that God knew I would need this today and gave me comfort and a safe harbor this morning.

    • Rachel

      God blesses us because He loves us – not based on merit or lack thereof. Even if you can’t see it now He is working all things together for your good!!

    • Kaylie Bradshaw

      Karyssa, I understand your feelings of worry as I am almost finished with my first year of medical school and am trying to secure summer plans in order to feel adequate in comparison with the rest of my class. Thankfully, we have a community of fellow believers that we can call on to pray for us during this season of worry, and thank you for being willing to share your heart. Praying for calm in the midst of your storm!

    • C. Hope

      I’m praying for you, dear friend! Please remember that no amount of sin, no amount of worry, nothing on this planet can separate you from the infinite love of Christ Jesus. See Romans 8:38-39. You are dearly loved, and God will always be there for you.

    • Joy

      Karyssa, thanks for sharing the context of your anxieties: applications for residency and away rotations. My husband and I both know those pressures; we are just on the other side of residency and fellowships. But let your heart take courage—you WILL see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (v 13). He WILL teach you His way and guide you on a level path (v 11). Why? Because His own reputation and glory are on display, as you trust in Him. Praying for you today!

    • Summer Chavez

      As someone coming to the end of residency, I can’t emphasize how much I’ve needed faith to get through it. My fingers cling so tightly to certain and little by little God is helping to let things go and give up my illusion of control. There’s a great book by Linda Dillow called “Calm My Anxious Heart” that has really spoken to me in the past. If the littlest thing goes astray, my mind goes towards to bleakest, most ridiculous outcome. Someone once said that worry is a sin, because it means we don’t trust that God is who He says He is, that we lack the belief that He’ll get done what He wants to get done. That’s been one way reframing things that have shown me that worrying doesn’t actually do anything productive and is sinful behavior. It makes me feel like I’m doing something but in reality is my attempt to control the situation. As the father of child in the New Testament who was healed said, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24.

    • Sonya C.

      I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to be reading this post and replies. I have been a PA for almost 25 years so the season you all are in or are on the other side of is in my distant memory. My twin boys though are perusing fields of medicine and it give me great hope that there will Christ followers who go to God and who will pray for one another. May God richly bless each of you and may he be glorified.

    • Sarah Korpak

      Morning, Karyssa,

      I am a couple days late on this psalm, but it was well-times. I am stressed as I work in two graduate programs (EdD and 2nd MSN-ACNP) while teaching Nursing full time. I have been feeling so overwhelmed and this was exactly what I needed to read today – to let Him carry my worries and fear and anxieties about getting all the things done. Breathe. Be still. And know that He is God. God bless you, today❤️

  • Stephanie

    This study has been my favorite since Proverbs last spring. I love engaging with the scripture the way the book is encouraging us to do!

    • Deborah Craytor

      It’s funny, Stephanie, but I’m feeling the exact opposite. I have no trouble studying Scripture, but I feel lost when I have to dissect it for myself (by figuring out what each psalm is saying about the psalmist’s circumstances, himself, God, requests to God, and instructions to us). I feel like there are right or wrong answers, and SRT isn’t giving me the answer key! I also am definitely struggling with writing my own prayers which address, describe, confess, request, and praise. Any suggestions on how to better engage in the ways the book suggests?

      • Liz C

        I have the book as well but I think it is important to realize there are no right or wrong answers. Some things will stand out more to you in this moment because of where you are which is why I think the final question is about summing up where you are right now and what you take away from this Psalm. I like that the book helps me unpack the Psalm if you will. I will read it a couple of times to fill in the sections, maybe once through for how God is addressed and another for requests and instructions. It helps me focus and not just skim over the words that I am sometimes prone to do. (As hard as it is to admit that.). I also think that prayer is personal, maybe you don’t need all of the parts of the prayers outlined. Maybe today it is enough for you to describe how you are feeling to God or maybe just praise him. I look at the guides as just that, a guide, a suggestion but I don’t think your prayers will be less if you leave out a part. Again I think of this as a guide to stop and think about what is going on in my life, what I’m feeling, is the feeling cause by sin (i.e. anxiety caused by lack of faith or trust) and what requests I need to ask the Father. But your prayer will be different. And it will be different today than it will be next year. Not to mention that no one but you need see the answers. I’m fairly new to studying Scripture so I appreciate the lessons to be learned here but this is just one approach. Sorry for rambling, I just really wanted to say that you should use this a guide but don’t get caught up in the details. Studying Scripture is the important part.

  • Churchmouse

    My anxiety is so affected by my self talk. What I dwell on can be uplifting. What I dwell on can be despairing. My choice.

    I do well to remember :

    I am loved. (Jeremiah 31:3)
    I am secure. (John 10: 28-29)
    I am forgiven. (Colossians 2:13))
    God is with me. (Hebrews 13:4)

    I’m going to be ok. I tell myself “Calm down. God’s got this. He’s got me.”

    • Susan

      Thank you, your words are always encouraging!

    • Susie

      Churchmouse, your comments are always so encouraging. I find myself scrolling through the list looking for your name :) Thank you for sharing. Just wondering if you meant for Hebrews 13:6 to be the verse referenced in today’s comment. It says:
      ‘So we can confidently say,
      “The Lord is my helper;
      I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

    • Mari

      Churchmouse, you always have the right words that I need to hear. This exactly when I needed to read this morning. I went to bed so late that I was going to sleep in a little extra this morning. But God woke me up to read His Word.

    • Lori

      self talk is my biggest enemy as well…. well in my head anyway. :)

    • PamC

      Churchmouse your words re-enforce my Pastor’s wife’s words and remind me to take every thought captive. While I don’t suffer with anxiety, I battle depression. It goes in cycles. Right now, it’s darker than ever. I think that’s because I’m more immersed in the Word, in prayer. I have a great doctor but I’m looking for a good Christian counselor or psychologist. I think it’s incredibly important to find a Christian.

  • What a beautiful reminder that God alone can calm the storm that is our anxiety. My own anxiety can be paralyzing and I admit that I often try to lean on my own understanding and try to control my own path. Thank you Jesus for the grace you gave us through your bloodshed. For God is always in control and can wipe all our fears away. What a blessing it is to know He will never forsake us! “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save!” Zephaniah 3:17

  • Kathy- this is a difficult time for your family particularly your dad. Perhaps the story of Moses, a powerful man of God and a strong leader, where in a fierce battle God directed him to stand on a hill and lift his arms to ensure victory, he grew weary. Others who respected and trusted him came along to help hold up his arms. When they held them the Israelites were winning and when they let go, the battle turned against them. Moses was still the leader, still the strong man of God but he needed the love and physical support of others to win the fight. Your dad’s a strong man who’s arms are weary so those who love him will hold up his arms to win the battle before them. My prayers are with you and your family.

    • Sonya Ables

      Linda-what a beautiful and encouraging way to give honor and respect. I love that story so much.

    • Kathy

      Linda, your reply brought me to tears. I was thinking last night about how sad I am that my dad is struggling so to take care of my mom. He has always been the strong one and to see him in such need is heartbreaking. Your words are so encouraging and something I had never thought of. This will definitely be something I will be sharing with my dad. Thank you so much.

  • Amy Shirley

    Great suggestion!! Thanks for starting my Friday off with a new song.

  • Other Karen

    I needed this today! I don’t have clear enemies, but have been feeling anxious and overwhelmed this week. Spring is such a busy time of year: at the ball field 4 days per week, got slammed at work, end of the school year chaos, planning a baby shower…it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed! Keeping my eyes on Jesus and putting all my worries and fears at his feet today.

  • How timely this is! My parents are both in their 80’s. My Mom has Parkinsons and my dad is her caregiver. It is becoming harder and harder for him to provide for her and for himself. He’s also a retired airline pilot who has been “captain of his own universe” for most of his adult life. He finds it very difficult to ask or accept help from anyone else – kind of a control freak! Anyway, my siblings and I are getting together with them this Saturday to figure out what help they need and how to get it for them. It’s a conversation I am anxious about. Please pray for wisdom and clarity. Pray that all of us have ears that are really listening and hearing what’s being said. Pray that we are able to figure out what they need. Pray that we can all keep a sense of humor and remember that we love and care for each other.
    I am so thankful that my Papa God doesn’t just give light and salvation. He IS light and salvation. “He knows those who take refuge in Him.”
    Be blessed, my sweet sisters!

    • Other Karen

      I work in home care (speech therapy) and see this struggle often…such difficult decisions! Keeping you and your family in my prayers today.

    • Lynne

      Kathy, we went through Parkinson’s with my mom years ago. It is very tough. I am praying for your family as you get a plan for taking care of her and your dad.

    • anne jones

      praying for you Kathy, that your parents will see this conversation is rooted in love.

    • Saundra

      Praying for you Kathy.

  • To go along with the scripture I just posted, I’m talking to myself. I’ve had anxious thoughts since I was a little girl. I’ve learned His Word, but thought it worked for others, but I wasn’t qualified because of this or that. That’s not true! God loves me too. I need to hear, learn, and believe His promises are for me. He is for us and not against us. How great is His Word and promises. He is not a man that He should lie. I must just trust and rest in His care! He’s got it all!

  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • https://youtu.be/Sc6SSHuZvQE This is the link to the song Reckless Love! It is wonderful and tells of how God pursues us even when we were his enemies. Thank You, Jesus for coming after us because of Your love! You gave it all for us even when we weren’t following You. You are a wonderful Savior!

  • Karen Emmanuel

    Thank you Erin for this beautiful reminder! Anxiety can sometimes keep me up at night. I feel blessed to follow this plan so I can submit my prayers and fully depend on Him when times are hard.

  • Psalm 27 has been a favorite for a long time. The verse that gets me every time has to be… I have asked the Lord for one thing; one thing only do i want, to live in the Lord’s house all my life, to marvel there at His goodness…
    His goodness…

    God’s is faithful.
    His care is relentless.
    His promises are true.
    His presence is the only place where our fears truly subside.

    My safe harbour.
    My anchor.
    My hope.
    My song.

    The message version is great…
    Verses 13-14…
    I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God ! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God .
    (Psalm 27:13‭-‬14 MSG
    https://bible.com/bible/97/psa.27.13-14.MSG)

    Amen.

    This is beautiful Erin, thank you..

    Hugs and love wrapped in prayers and blessings dear hearts. Happy weekend.. xxx

  • I needed this as I woke up with anxiety today, I looked at my son wondering how to raise him in the way of the Lord as my husband is gradually turning away from sin. Who will my son look up to as he model, I woke up with a shiver! But thank God, He is ever ready to calm the storm.

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