Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
Have you ever been stuck in the mud?
I’ll never forget the day my second grade class took a field trip across the highway to April’s house.
April’s dad had been the pastor of the little Baptist church that housed our Christian elementary school for as long as I could remember.
I had visited April’s house many times before, but this was different.
Today we were saying goodbye.
Her mom made treats and pink lemonade for us to drink, then it was time to take a hike down into the valley behind their house.
Springtime was in the air and the grass was just starting to take on an emerald hue.
We’d had lots of rain recently and by the time we reached the bottom of the valley, the path we were following disappeared beneath a series of oddly shaped puddles.
Fortunately, our teacher was still halfway up the hill having a nice conversation with April’s mother.
A few of us decided to take advantage of this unexpected opportunity by picking up our pace and trying to make it to the other side of the puddles before our teacher could stop us.
Everyone made it to the other side, except me.
I’m pretty sure they hopped around the puddles (cheaters!).
I went straight through the middle, and well…
My shoe got stuck in the mud and I couldn’t, for the life of me, get it out.
In fact, the mud was so deep, I had to take my shoe off before I could get it to release.
As soon as I took my foot out of my sneaker, the whole thing filled with mud and I knew I was in trouble.
There was no way to get that mucky mess back on my foot, so I was forced to traverse my way back up the steep valley slope with just one shoe on.
My classmates teased me the whole way up the hill and by the time my mom picked me up from school I was in tears.
“What happened, honey?”
“April is moving away. And I got stuck in the mud. And everyone laughter at me.”
Getting stuck in the mud is messy business.
For years, I felt the same way about prayer as I did about those mud puddles at the bottom of the valley behind April’s house.
Every time I would try to pray, I’d get stuck. Then I’d feel bad about myself, certain everyone else was doing it better than me. And I’d be forced to spend the rest of the day cleaning the mud spatter off my heart. Not fun!
This pattern continued until a friend shared a few of her favorite verses to pray when she was “stuck in spiritual mud.”
This was an altogether new approach to prayer for me, and I cannot tell you how helpful it has been. I now regularly search for psalms to pray when I’m feeling stuck.
God’s Word is powerful when we read it, but doubly so when we pray it!God's Word is powerful when we read it, but doubly so when we pray it!
3 Psalms to Pray when You Don’t Know what to Say
Learning how to pray through scripture takes time, so I’ve decided to share three of my own psalm-inspired prayers with you today.
I hope these prayers encourage you, and give you a place to start when you are feeling stuck in the mud.
When I pray these psalms, I find wisdom and strength to jump over all my spiritual puddles, and make it to the other side unscathed.
1. Remember God’s Goodness by Praying Psalm 145
Here is a condensed version of this Psalm to pray when you are struggling to remember God’s goodness:
I will praise You every day because of your goodness. I will honor your name with every breath because your greatness is unsearchable. I will dwell on your splendor, glory, and majesty when my heart is tempted to wander. I will remember everything you have done for me, and sing joyful praises because you are gracious and compassionate to me.
Thank you for faithfully loving me even when I struggle to love myself. Your goodness and compassion astounds me; I will choose to praise you all the days of my life. Thank you for picking me up when I fall, for fighting my battles when I have no strength left, and for giving me all I need to get through this day.
Please be near to me in this moment, show me how to desire you above all else, and satisfy me with your love. Save me from my fears and insecurities, help me live a life that brings glory to your name. Guard me from the wicked and teach me how to sing your praises. To your name be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.Today I'm sharing my TOP 3 ALL-TIME FAVORITE PSALMS to pray when I don't know what else to say.
2. Lay Your Burdens Down by Praying Psalm 55
Here is a condensed version of this Psalm to pray when you are feeling crushed by the weight of your circumstances:
Thank you God for how you listen to me. Even when I’m mumbling, you never ignore my cry for help. Please answer my restless request today. I am feeling isolated and alone in my troubles; my enemies outnumber my friends. My heart is weary and I am afraid of what the future holds.
I wish you could give me wings to fly away from all the burdens that weigh me down. I wish I could leave it behind and find rest and shelter from the storm. Please intervene in my life. Show up with great power and destroy my enemies.
Even my friends don’t understand the burdens I carry. The people I used to rely on are no longer willing to hear my cries for help. I am alone in the crowd. Even in church, I feel isolated. Will you save me? Will you redeem me? Will you protect me?
I believe you have a plan for me, even though it isn’t clear right now. You are just and kind and good. And you are in control! Today I choose to give you all my burdens. I chose to find sustenance and safety in your warm embrace. Do not allow me to be shaken any longer; I place my trust in you. Amen.
3. Fill Up Your Spiritual Storehouse by Praying Psalm 91
Here is a condensed version of this Psalmto pray when you are overwhelmed by the pain and suffering in the world:
You are my protection, my refuge, my fortress! In you I place my trust. Today I’m asking you to deliver me from the muck and the mire, to comfort me with your tender embrace. Your faithfulness is my shield; your unchanging character is my confidence.
I am surrounded by violence, sorrow, and defeat. Everywhere I look, I see the pain and brokenness of this world. When will you rescue me? In your might and power, I ask you to punish the wicked and protect the innocent. Send your mighty army of angels to fight on our behalf, to support all who are weary. I am so weary, Lord!
I trust you will deliver me. I trust you will protect me. I trust you will answer me, and be with me in seasons of trouble. I run to you with all my needs because I am lovingly devoted to you. Show me what I can do to help those who are hurting. Satisfy me with your love and I will find the strength I need to be a bright light for you in this hurting world.
I hope these three prayers have encouraged you. If you have any prayer requests or unmet needs at this time, please take a moment to share them on our community prayer wall.
We are here to pray for you and consider it a true privilege to be able to lift your requests up in prayer!