That’s unwelcome news but there is good news. The good news is that God’s Word offers the help and hope we need in these uncertain days. We can often run to friends and family for support, and they may be able to help but the one place we can count on where we will always find true help and support is at the feet of Jesus.
Here are seven Psalms we can pray during these overwhelming times.
1. Psalm 56: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s protection.
Psalms 56:1-13 NLT O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. They come together to spy on me— watching my every step, eager to kill me. Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. (emphasis mine)
When we need God’s protection, sometimes we try to handle things is our own strength. But we can’t fight our battles and expect to win without God’s protection and strength. It requires us to trust God and believe His word even when we feel surrounded.
2. Psalm 57: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s mercy.
Psalms 57:1-11 NLT Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. Interlude My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey— whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth. My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it. Interlude My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. (emphasis mine)
Sometimes we cry out for God to have mercy on other people, but when we need mercy it’s hard to admit. When that happens, we need to step up and admit that we have a need for mercy when overwhelmed.
3. Psalm 58: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s justice.
Psalms 58:1-11 NLT Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No! You plot injustice in your hearts. You spread violence throughout the land. These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way. They spit venom like deadly snakes; they are like cobras that refuse to listen, ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers, no matter how skillfully they play. Break off their fangs, O God! Smash the jaws of these lions, O Lord ! May they disappear like water into thirsty ground. Make their weapons useless in their hands. May they be like snails that dissolve into slime, like a stillborn child who will never see the sun. God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats over burning thorns. The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.” (emphasis mine)
There may never have been a time in modern history where we’ve felt the need for justice more than now. You may even feel so overwhelmed that you don't even know what to pray for or to pray about. Psalm 58 expresses the cry of someone who longs for justice. We can cry out for justice because we know that God’s righteousness always wins.
4. Psalm 59: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s defense.
Psalms 59:1-17 NLT Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. They have set an ambush for me. Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord , though I have not sinned or offended them. I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me! O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, wake up and punish those hostile nations. Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But Lord , you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies. Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons; stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees, O Lord our shield. Because of the sinful things they say, because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel. Interlude My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. They scavenge for food but go to sleep unsatisfied. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. (emphasis mine)
When we feel offended, we often feel the need to defend ourselves. But this psalm reminds us that God is our defender. We don’t always need to have the last word or share every thought that goes through our heads. Often the best thing we can do is simply tell God all about it.
Psalms 60:1-12 NLT You have rejected us, O God, and broken our defenses. You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favor. You have shaken our land and split it open. Seal the cracks, for the land trembles. You have been very hard on us, making us drink wine that sent us reeling. But you have raised a banner for those who fear you— a rallying point in the face of attack. Interlude Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power. God has promised this by his holiness : “I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings. But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant, and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia.” Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes. (emphasis mine).
Help! Many times, when we are overwhelmed by life this is the only word we can utter in prayer. But Psalm 60 fills in the blanks when words are lacking. We sometimes think if we pray exactly right, then God will answer. But when we turn to God with a sincere heart, the words aren’t the key the heart is the key. And I’m so thankful God is my help.
6. Psalm 61: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s answer.
Psalms 61:1-8 NLT O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! 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, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Interlude For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name. Add many years to the life of the king! May his years span the generations! May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day. (emphasis mine)
Have you ever made a promise to God? Many of us have tried to make deals with Him by promising to do this or that if He would just answer our prayer. Though our prayers might not be answered right away, and we feel overwhelmed, it does not mean God is not near or not listening. It simply means God has a different or a better plan. Here are a couple verses to pray when you are waiting for God’s answer that remind the heart to wait and praise in the presence of God.
7. Psalm 62: I feel overwhelmed and need God’s strength.
Psalms 62:1-12 NLT I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. So many enemies against one man— all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts. Interlude Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Interlude Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done.
When we are overwhelmed, we get weary. We get tired. Tired of waiting. Tired of wanting. Tired of praying. Tired of the daily grind of trying to do right. Just plain tired. Maybe you’ve been there too. Psalm 62 is a beautiful expression for a tired, overwhelmed soul. It’s the battle cry your heart needs to cry when you know you need to turn to the Lord, but when you can’t come up with the words. It reminds you where your strength really comes from.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, choose a psalm and pour out your prayer to God today. You don’t have to wait for church or rely on someone else to communicate with God for you. You have free access through the blood of Jesus to communicate with your heavenly father. There are sure to be circumstances that will cause us to feel overwhelmed, but you don’t have to live overwhelmed. Let Jesus lighten the load.
1 Peter 5:7 NLT Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.