A Prayer for When You’re Under a Cloud of Darkness

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Psalm 143:10)

David prays for instruction from God on how to do God’s will, and presumably what God’s will is to start with, at a time when he is being pursed by the enemy, who sounds more like depression than a human enemy in this psalm: his soul is crushed, he sits in darkness, his spirit faints, his heart fails–or he is overcome with dismay.

David remembers first what God has done in the past and cries out to God to speak comfort to him and deliver him, determining to trust God.

Before David asks God to instruct David in obedience to God’s will, he does ask God out right to give him knowledge of the way he should go–what path he should take, the choices he should make–because he’s lifting up his battered soul to God for healing, and knows through experience that depression compromises our ability to make sound judgments. In his weakness, he’s relying all the more upon God’s leading. David determines not to listen to depression’s lies that he is alone and abandoned. He puts his trust in God to be right beside him even though he can’t see God there and lead him through the darkness. He prays that God would direct him over a clear path without any obstacles or uneven places for him to trip over, and deliver him out of the grasp of the enemy of our souls.

Lord, we say amen to David’s prayer. Show us the way we should go. Lead us over level ground, that we might not stumble into sin. Lead us into your light. Strengthen our hearts within us. Open our ears to hear your word and the voice of your spirit. Enable us to recognize your voice and discern between your voice and the voices of fear and depression and the flesh. We have decided to trust you. Enable us to trust you in deed. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.