Today I felt my heart “sinking low,” the “blues” like a mist slowly coming over me as I lay on my sick bed, but in His kindness the Lord turned my heart towards Him with this cry to Him, “strengthen my heart to pray.” For Jesus said “Pray lest you lose heart.” Prayer-lessness is the entrance to losing heart! {Luke 18:1}.

Epaphras {Col 4:12-13} – is a great example for us in times when we “feel” we are losing heart. We can combat it through believing prayer. For who did he “pray” for? He prayed for others! He “labored”- worked hard at praying for others, because he cared so greatly for others! When we find ourselves sinking under some burden or stress, or even unknown to us why we feel so low in spirit, turn to the LORD, talk to Him. Tell Him how you are feeling. Ask Him to strengthen your heart to pray for others! Ask Him to bring people to mind throughout the day who you can pray for. Pray for others!

In regards Epaphras whose “epitaph” is written in Colossians 4;12-13 for generations to read, to contemplate and make application in regards the high value GOD places on fervent intercession.

I  read somewhere in regards Epaphras, “Be like him, laboring for God in prayer. { The next three lines caught my attention}

* If you can’t work,

* if you can’t speak,

* you can pray. But work hard at it like Epaphras, and you will be an immense benefactor to others.” {Anon.}

“* If you can’t work, * if you can’t speak, * you can pray..” Your life can count – behind closed doors, a sick room, in any and all places- you can have influence through God by praying to Him on behalf of others! If you find yourself “sinking down” use it as a spring board to Look to God and PRAY for OTHERS! ‘The best way to learn to pray is…PRAY!

If it was not in my own view of certain circumstances and the drop in spirit, that had not turned me to God to ask Him to “strengthen my heart to pray,”-I would have missed a blessing of speaking to Him. So in the circumstances as unlovely as I desire them to be, I can THANK HIM for them, because IN them, He reminded me of Himself and in helplessness cry out, “strengthen my heart to pray” and be reminded of Epaphras, whose life is summed up in Col 4:12-13- a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, who was “always striving for you in his prayers.”

* Prayer is a Privilege.* Prayer is a Battle- with constant interruptions, excuses, laziness, self deception, and the lies that seek to entice you into believing the lie,”your prayers don’t count.”* Prayer that is persistent is at times a great battle!’ * When the enemy would seek to entice you with “the blues” to sink down, thank God “the blood” reminds you of the High, Holy Privilege you have been afforded to speak to Him about anything and everything and also – time to talk to Him and PRAY for OTHERS!

THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND; Think on “The Blues” which turn us inward, spiraling slowly but surely downward, thinking and living as though there is no God and if there is, He is uncaring towards you! The “Blues” turn you away from God and like a heavy fog settles on the heart to blind us of our Hope in Christ.

THE ALTERNATIVE TO DESPAIR- is HOPE IN GOD. Consider Him, His character, His Promises. Think on THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD – THINK on “The BLOOD” of Jesus that gives you significance as a child of God, access to God, to stand before Him on behalf of others! God works all things- even ‘the blues’ to work out for good as He turns us to Himself once again…

1. – TALK TO YOURSELF!  “Why are you in DESPAIR o my soul? PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD!” -Psalm 43:5.

Like the Psalmist you need to TALK TO YOURSELF AND ASK YOURSELF the QUESTION – WHY ARE YOU SO DISCOURAGED, SAD?

* The word, “Despair, The  Hebrew meaning is ” to crouch, to bow down..” In Job 38:40 it is used of a lion in a crouched position, waiting for it’s prey… It is speaking of the heart within us when we just want to crouch and bow down “curling up in a  fetal position and quitting.”-{Swindoll}. Disturbed within us by feelings that entice us to curl up and sink into despair…  ask yourself “Why…?”

2. – ACT- BY FAITH!

A. – CHOOSE BY AN ACT OF YOUR WILL TO ACT...{ The Psalmist twice said, determined- “I WILL…I WILL..”.} He chose to REACT by living not by his feelings but by the facts, truth to…

B. – PUT YOUR HOPE {confidence} IN GOD. –

When we yield To “DESPAIR” and crouch and bow down emotionally, we are turning away from the truth and Hope that is found in God! Focus on Him. In Him there is surety and security for the soul. He is the God of “ALL HOPE” -{Romans 15:13}. Remind yourself of Him. Remind yourself of past victories, provisions He has done for you. Look at His character afresh in the psalms. Circle words that speak of His “faithfulness.”  This does not mean there are not difficulties, indeed life changing events that sadden the heart, even Jesus “wept” uncontrollably. It is not “positive” thinking, trying to convince yourself that everything is fine when there are deep hurts, difficulties. But it is to look at God who in the end rights all wrongs, and for His own, wipes every tear away and with Him there will be no more sorrow or pain. For the believer His Word teaches we are passing through, this is not our Home- Heaven is- {John 14:1-6}. Peter spoke of”fiery trials,” James spoke of the inevitability of trials{James 1:2-5.} Jesus Himself said ” In this world you will have trouble but be of good cheer- take comfort- For I have overcome the world.”  God is “the Father of Mercies the God of  “ALL COMFORT.” { 2 Corinthians 1;3-4}. In Him there is hope, not a “maybe, cross your fingers, wish type’ but genuine stability for the broken of heart, the bruised of heart, the overwhelmed. The psalmist wrote, “when my heart is overwhelmed{Literally- covered in darkness} Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I.” You are not alone , nor on your own in this time.-  “Hope in God…”

God is in Control! God is greater than all! God cannot be thwarted. God is for you. God will give you strength to do what He calls you to. He is worthy of your reliance, confidence trust. HOPE IN GOD! God is Your Savior, Deliverer, If He chooses to deliverer you who can hinder Him? If He chooses to Deliverer you by imparting you with grace and strength to endure the trial then you are sufficient for that trial as Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. Paul asked for the thorn to be removed, Jesus told him, His grace was sufficient for him. He Saves us from or He saves us in. But He can be counted upon!

HOPE IN WHO GOD IS;

God is SOVEREIGN- He is KING!

He calls him –

  • “The God of My STRENGTH”- 43:2- 
  • Seek to Praise God- Ps 43:4
  • Seek the Precepts of God.-His Word which will lead us back Ps 43:4-
  • “God my EXCEEDING JOY “- 43:3-4;
  • Seek God with the people of God-Ps 43:3-4.
  • “My God”- Ps 43:5.  

When depressed or even with  “the blues” the tendency can be to isolate yourself and you and I have to force ourselves against our feelings and force ourselves around His people. Seek to serve others.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his book, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure ([Eerdmans], pp. 20-21), comments,“Have you not realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself… The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address Yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God”.

Is God Himself “your exceeding joy” today (43:4)? If not, don’t rest until it is true. Your need is not happiness; your need is not relief from your pain; your need is God! Thirst after God! Rouse yourself to seek Him as your only source of hope and help, “- Annon

“To him who can call God his own God, no cause of anxiety remains. He can trample all fears and doubts beneath his feet. He can see clearly by the eye of hope the blissful prospect of deliverance.” – Henry Laws.

No matter how despairing your circumstances. Hope in God! You shall again praise Him, the help of your countenance and your God.”

C – CHOOSE TO PRAISE HIM – your Savior, Rescuer, Strong Deliverer. PRAISE Him for He is GOD- Creator and Faithful One!

What If I don’t “feel” like praising Him? PAISE HIM. Don’t live by your “feelings”- Look where they have you? Live by faith in the Word of God because it Pleases Him and He is worthy {Hebrews 11:6}.

**** PRAISE SHATTERS AND SCATTERS “THE BLUES” WHEN GOD IS YOUR HOPE AND PRAISE!

Is anything too hard for the LORD? He Loved you so much He gave His Son as your sin bearer, so  that you would not die in your sin, but through His death and resurrection you may become a beloved child of Almighty God! The psalmist and God have a personal relationship as seen in  the word, “MY”

There are  5 “MY” mentioned from v 1-5. –

“O God plead my case against an ungodly nation.” – v1

“You are the God of my strength,, Why have you rejected me?”- v2

“O send out Your Light and Your truth, let them lead me.”- v3

” Then I will go to the Alter of God, the God of my exceeding joy.” -v4

“Why are you in despair o my soul? And why are you disturbed within me.?” -v5

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I WILL PUT MY HOPE IN GOD! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!”-Psalm 43:5 {NLT}

The Battle is for our mind and the enemy uses “the Blues” to tempt us to go inward and downward,while God uses the BLOOD to turn us to Look Up … to capture our attention once again that in the fight we can…

* LOOK TO GOD – {Psalm 43:5}

* HOPE IN GOD {Heb 12:2}…

* PRAISE GOD and

* PRAY ON {Col 4:2}!

May the LORD GOD, “strengthen your heart to Pray on…!”….HOPE IN GOD …..PRAISE GOD.  My prayer for you is…”May the God of ALL HOPE, fill you with ALL JOY and PEACE in believing and may you ABOUND {Overflow} in HOPE”- {Romans 15:13}