“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray…” (James 5:13).
Though he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), David was never exempted from the reality of suffering and difficulty. At least a dozen psalms (3, 6, 13, 22, 28, 44, 56, 59, 69, 70, 86, and 88) were written by the sweet singer of Israel as he prayed to God in the midst of challenging trials.
David’s response provides a worthy example to follow when the certainty of life called suffering has kicked down the door of your house and announced its intention to stay awhile.
When David suffered…
He prayed honestly about his situation and distress. “Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’…I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies” (Psalms 3:1-2; 6:6-7).
He prayed confidently about God’s providence. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around…Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly” (Psalm 3:3-6; 6:8-10).
He prayed specifically about his needs and desires. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people…O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?” (Psalm 3:7-8; 6:1-5).
Not only does God command you to pray when you are suffering, He provides David’s godly example of how to do so.
Such is the all-sufficiency of God’s word.