Earlier this week a godly Christian friend of mine remarked, “Is it just me or is the world starting to spin out of control? It seems like all we’re doing is going from one major crisis to the next to the next. How are we supposed to catch our breath anymore?”

How should we respond in the midst of crises? The short answer, no surprise, is: By praying. More than any other writings, the ancient Hebrew and Christian hymn book, the Psalms, show us how.

Beginning with Psalms 3, and over and over again until Psalms 149, we find the psalmist actively and fervently praying to the Lord in various dire circumstances.

            “How many are my foes!”

            “Give me relief from my distress.”

            “Listen to my cry for help.”

            “Away from me, all you who do evil.”

            “Save and deliver me from all who pursue me.”

In seven out of every ten psalms, the writer is either crying out to the Lord for physical salvation, thanking God for sparing his life, reminding himself of the differing fates of the righteous and evildoers, or renewing his allegiance to God and His Word in the face of rampant wickedness.

If the psalms teach us anything, it’s how to turn to God in times of trouble and distress.  Here’s a brief synopsis with specific examples from various psalms.

            1.  Call out to the Lord...
            “Hear my cry, O God;
            listen to my prayer
            (Psalms 61:1).

            2.  ...and ask for help!
            “Hasten, O God, to save me;
            O Lord, come quickly to help me”
            (Psalms 70:1).

            3.  Tell God about your troubles...
            “We are objects of reproach to our neighbors,
            of scorn and derision to those around us”
            (Psalms 79:4).

            4.  ...and admit if you feel abandoned or forsaken.
            “How long, O Lord?  Will you hide yourself forever?
            How long will your wrath burn like fire?
            Remember how fleeting is my life.
            For what futility you have created all men!”
            (Psalms 89:46-47).