Not knowing what to do

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, June 22, 2024

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By R.A. Mathews

He lifted his head to God and said that he was lost. “Search for me, Lord.”

Countless Christians feel that same anguish every day — not knowing what to do. It can happen at a crossroads, in times of sadness, when facing illness, or during a financial crisis. 

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David wrote those words roughly 1,000 B.C. “I have wandered about like a lost sheep; search for Your servant… ” (Psalm 119:176).

Search for me, Lord. 

There are more words of longing in his Psalm. “Let Your hand be ready to help me… ” (Psalm 119:173).

But God had shown David a great truth. One you see later in the New Testament. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 NKJV). 

David knew that singing to God, reaching to Him, would bring the Lord close.

* “My tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (Psalm 51:14)

* “I will sing of your strength” (Psalm 59:16)

* “I will sing aloud of your steadfast love” (Psalm 59:16)

* “My tongue will sing of your word” (Psalm 119:172)

It’s in David’s longest Psalm that he tells us how committed he is to praise—he stopped seven times during his day. Just to sing to God. I highly recommend it.


David wrote “Great are Your mercies…  I rejoice at Your word, like one who finds great plunder…  seven times a day I praise You…” (Psalm 119: 56-164).

That Psalm tells you more. “I cried out with all my heart; answer me, Lord!…  I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, so that I may meditate on Your word” (Psalm 119:145-148).

“His song will be with me in the night…” (Psalm 42:8).

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You…” (Psalm 119:62).

Paul and Silas took those words to heart when they were in prison. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God…” (Acts 16:25).

Did God draw near?

“…  and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened” (Acts 16:26).


 In addition to praising God seven times a day, David also prayed three times a day, “evening, morning, and at noon.” Daniel did the same (Psalm 55:17, Daniel 6:1-10).

The Hartford Seminary Foundation produced a text on Christian hours of prayer in the early church, which (if I am reading it correctly) were based on sunrise. They roughly correspond to 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight.


If you decide to follow David and the early church, consider setting your phone to alert you at those hours. If you can choose the ringtone, make it a song of praise. That’s how I started. 

What are some ideas to incorporate into your three periods of prayer?

Always begin with praise. “Serve the LORD with gladness. Come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2 KJV). 

Even if you don’t like to sing, God loves praise. When John was given a vision of heaven, he saw four heavenly creatures and, some translations say, they are singing day and night: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty…” (Revelation 4:8).

Add Scripture to your prayer times. I listen to the word of God. I have about six audio versions, some dramatized. But many prefer to read. 

And, of course, pray. The early church prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times a day.

You may want to journal your prayers. A woman said, “I turn on my phone’s recorder and speak my prayers. It’s like calling into God. Plus, I can go back and listen to those prayers.”

Remember that the “business hour” times, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., are just for praise. If you’re in a meeting, excuse yourself. Sing a song a praise in the hall or restroom. St Augustine said, “One who sings well prays twice.”

Can you imagine a time when Christians everywhere would stop and sing praises together at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.? That would be amazing!

“Singing is for one who loves,” St. Augustine said. “Sing and make melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

This will change you. Like David in his time of need, you’re also asking God, “Search for me, Lord.” Lift your voice in song, and He will come to you.

Draw near to God.

The Rev. Mathews (BA, MDiv, JD) is a newspaper faith columnist and the author of Emerald Coast: The Vendetta. Write to her at (Just one t in Mathews)

Copyright © 2024 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.