Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me. (Psalm 142:3)

From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety, (Psalm 61:2)

Overwhelm:  “To cover over completely, as by a great wave; to overflow and bury beneath.” (Webster’s Dictionary)

If ever there was a guy who fit this definition, it was Jonah. His rebellion against the plan God had for him had gotten him thrown into the sea where he traveled by large fish to the very depths. In that hopeless, horrific place, seaweed strangling him, waves of salt water burying him, smelly slime, digestive juices and decay surrounding him on every side, he cried out to God in repentance. Jonah said in effect, “God, you will get me out of this mess! I will be released from this place of death, and I will then worship at your temple!” This was a courageous if not audacious declaration of faith. Notice he didn’t say, “I’ll never get out of this alive! I am a dead man!” No, he declared that God would rescue him.

Then it looks like things got worse after he prayed. He almost lost his life in the battle. Would he curse God? Would he abandon his faith? No. As his very life was slipping away from him, he “remembered the LORD.” Again, he shoots up a flare – an earnest prayer. He refuses to turn his back on God’s mercies. He offers a sacrifice to God, “With a song of praise.” I can just hear his feeble voice singing between coughs and gasps as he is drowning in debris.

Then God rescued him.

Feel overwhelmed? Let’s head to the Rock. Praise God from the trap you’re in. He will rescue you.

Father God,

You are higher than I am. I need You, my higher power – The Highest Power – to get me out of the circumstances I am in today. I’m overwhelmed and feel like I can hardly breathe with the pressure bearing down on me.

I am in great trouble. Lord, save me! I’m calling to you from a place of despair and hopelessness. Hear me! I’ve never sunk this low before. Help me! I am buried by uncontrollable circumstances. Yet, I will once again praise you in freedom and joy! Yes! With faith I declare that You in your great power will release me from this prison. I don’t know how. I don’t know when, but I believe in Your great love for me, and I trust in Your almighty power to do this.

From this place of helplessness, I cry out to you. [Give your specific circumstances to God.]

Forgive me for my rebellion. [Apologize for missing and ignoring his Word – we’ve all been there! Take responsibility, and forgive, releasing yourself from the entanglement of anyone who “helped” get you here.]

God, I look forward to this new trajectory. In the future, I won’t run the other way when you call. I’ll do the things I’ve said I will do. “I will fulfill all my vows.” And I will follow your Word.

And now I will wait for you to get me out of this mess. And while I wait, I will sing Your praise, thanking you in advance for your mighty power and unending, undeserving loving kindness!

Amen!

Now, sing a song of praise to the One who alone can rescue us!

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