Teach us to Pray

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(Psalms 13, 22, 44 & 60)
Lesson Number: 


Lesson 2

Teach us to Pray

(Psalms 13, 22, 44 & 60)

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Do you have trouble meditating? Trouble concentrating during prayer? I do. My mind reminds me of a squirrel, jumping all around to different topics. If I say to myself, “I’m going to start praying on a certain subject, all of a sudden I find myself thinking about something else. Thankfully, writing these lessons focuses my mind on spiritual issues. Contemplating God’s words fixes my attention. Apparently, a lot of God’s children are just like me. One major purpose of the Psalms is to be a prayer book. Reading the words of the Psalms focuses the mind on the subject of the prayer in that psalms. To help us focus, the Psalms cover many subjects of prayer. This week we are studying prayer during troubling times. Let’s dive into the Psalms and learn more about focusing our mind!

  1. Trouble for Nothing
    1. Read Psalms 44:1-3. What does history teach God’s people? (That God has defeated their enemies in the past. The work was done by God and not His people.)
    1. Read Psalms 44:9-13. What is happening to God’s people now? (God refuses to help them. He did not give them victory through His power. Rather He “sold” His people for a very small price. Their enemies are now laughing at them!)
    1. Read Psalms 44:18-22. Whose fault is it that the people are suffering? (God’s people claim that it is not their fault. They have been faithful.)
    1. Read Psalms 44:23. Who is being blamed for these problems? (God is sleeping. He id not paying attention to the trouble suffered by His people.)
    1. Look again at Psalms 44:22. What motivates the bad guys to hurt God’s people? (This psalmist claims they are being hurt because of their obedience to God.)
    1. Look again at Psalms 44:13. Do they think God is merely sleeping? That their troubles are inadvertence on God’s part? (No! The psalmist says this is intentional - God has made them the laughingstock of their opponents.)
    1. Let’s step back and contemplate this. If the psalmist is to be believed, do the people have a legitimate complaint against God? (You would expect God to help you if you are being hurt due to your faithfulness to Him.)
      1. Do you believe the complaint? (I do not. I do not recall a single story in the Old Testament where God’s people suffered because God wanted to hurt them for being faithful. The negligence charges are also false. God does not sleep.)
      1. What does your own experience teach you? (I hear people claim that they have no fault in their current suffering, but this is generally not true. The darker claim, that God wants to hurt them for no reason must be tested against the cross - where God suffered terribly to save us.)
    1. Read Psalms 44:26. Obviously, I cannot say for certain that the psalmist is not being honest, but let’s assume that he is not being realistic. What is the purpose of Psalms 44 for our prayers? (Do you think that you are honest with God about your faults? I’m certain that I am always giving myself “the benefit of the doubt.” For those of us who deceive ourselves about out sins, Psalms 44 is a comfort.)
      1. Why would God provide a prayer psalms for those who are not honest with Him? (This, once again, show God’s great love to us! He understands our weakness.)
    1. Read Psalms 60:2-3. What does this teach us who are not completely honest with ourselves and God about our sins? (Troubling times help us to “see hard things.”)
    1. Read Psalms 60:4-5 and Psalms 60:11-12. Will God help us even when we are the source of our troubles? (Yes. Even when we deserve what is happening to us we can call on God to “tread down our foes.”)
  1. Trouble for Something
    1. Read Psalms 22:4-5. What is the historical pattern? What is the precedent? (If we trust God, He will deliver us. We will not suffer shame.)
    1. Read Psalms 22:7-8. What is happening here? (Once again, the allegation is that the psalmist (here King David) is being mocked for trusting God.)
      1. Do these words seem familiar? (Read Luke 23:35. This is exactly how the Jewish rulers mocked Jesus.)
    1. Read Psalms 22:11-13. How dangerous is this situation? (Very. No one is near to help.)
    1. Read Psalms 22:14-18. Has King David been defeated? (It seems that defeat is almost complete. His clothes are being taken from him.)
      1. Once again, does this sound familiar? (Read John 19:34 and Matthew 27:35. This is a Messianic prophecy.)
      1. This puts a new light on Psalms 22. What should we be thinking as we pray this Psalms in times of trouble? (That Jesus suffered and therefore we have His company in our suffering.)
        1. Jesus volunteered for this. Doesn’t that make a big difference? (As sinners, we all “volunteered” to suffer because of sin. Only because of Jesus’ suffering do we have a way out of suffering and eternal death.)
    1. Read Psalms 22:26-28. What is the end result of Jesus’ suffering? (Victory is given to Him for our benefit!)
    1. Read Psalms 22:29-31. Who is the one “who could not keep himself alive?” (That is us. We cannot keep ourselves alive.)
  1. Confidence in God
    1. Read Psalms 13:1-2. What do you think it means to “take counsel in my soul?” (This is the issue we discussed in the introduction. We attempt to focus our minds on some issue. But staying focused is hard.)
      1. Is the psalmist successful in concentrating his attention? (It seems that he is. He says he has “sorrow in [his] heart all the day.”)
      1. Do you suffer with sorrow and sadness? (That seems to be a different kind of focus. You cannot help feeling sad.)
      1. Does David have a reason for sorrow? (He enemy is exalted over him. This is not depression that seems to have no specific source. David has a reason to be sad.)
    1. Read Psalms 13:3-4. David asks God to “consider” his request for help. What argument does David make for help? (David’s enemies will prevail over him.)
      1. What do you think about that argument? Please help me because I don’t want my enemies to win?
    1. Read Psalms 13:5-6. David makes a different argument here. What is it? (He believes that God loves him. He believes that God will save him. The reason he believes this is because God has dealt “bountifully,” with him in the past.)
    1. Consider how these Psalms would impact you if you were reading them when you are suffering? When you feel defeated and discouraged? (First, they provide courage that God will help, even when it seems He is not paying attention to the problem. Second, they encourage us to consider what our role might be in the problems that we face. That helps us to be realistic about our situation and to refrain from needlessly blaming God. Last, even when we are the source of our suffering, God is there to help us. We can think about how Jesus came to rescue us sinners!)
    1. Friend, will you turn to the Psalms to help you pray in times of trouble? Why not determine to make that a part of your religious practice?
  1. Next week: The Lord Reigns.