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5 Encouraging Psalms to Give Hope in Difficult Times

It calls us to live free from fear, to seek after a quiet and secure confidence in our God, who alone is able to save. He is our refuge and strength, He’s faithful to help us through every dark season.

A wooden cross at the end of a cliff

Some days are just hard. We may find ourselves facing huge loss or disappointment. We may be struggling through battles that feel unending. We might be walking through a dark season or difficult times we never saw coming. Whatever the situation, we desperately need the refreshing and peace that only God Himself can offer. His word is life to our souls and brings the constant reminders that He’s always near.

The Book of Psalms contains some of the most quoted and powerful verses in the entire Bible. It flows with words of praise, prayers, and heartfelt thoughts about life and God, taking us through journeys from the depths of despair to seasons of celebration and thankfulness.

Maybe that’s one reason so many of us love reading it, because even today, we can relate. It’s real-life; we identify with both the highs and lows.

If you’ve been searching to find a word of encouragement for whatever you might be walking through; or you’re just needing to hear fresh whispers of hope, here are five popular Psalms where we can find comfort and strength for today.

1. Our Shepherd in Psalm 23

This beautiful Psalm written by David reminds us that God is our constant caring shepherd and faithful guide. In Him alone, can we find hope both in this life and through eternity. It’s considered to be the most well-known and popular Psalm of all.

When life is hard, we may sometimes wonder where God is, or struggle with feeling like we’ve been left on our own in the heat of difficult circumstances.

These powerful words speak peace and encouragement of His goodness and care. His blessings and protection are evident throughout our lives. We never have to fear.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:1-6).

2. Our Light and Salvation in Psalm 27

This beautiful Psalm was penned by David and reminds us of the truth that God is our help and stronghold in this life. He gives us all we need to face each day and offers hope for the future too. Choosing to trust our God who never changes can help us overcome every fear and battle we’re facing.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid…I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:1,13-14).

3. Our Refuge and Strength in Psalm 46

This popular Psalm was written by the sons of Korah, who were temple assistants, and is a hymn of praise, possibly written during the time the Assyrian army had invaded the land and surrounded Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13-19:37).

Its powerful words remind us that no matter what we face, God holds the final victory, and we can trust Him in the midst of all that may be happening around us.

It calls us to live free from fear, to seek after a quiet and secure confidence in our God, who alone is able to save. He is our refuge and strength, He’s faithful to help us through every dark season.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…God is within her, she will not fall, God will help her at break of day…The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress…Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:1-3,5,7,10).

4. Our Protector in Psalm 91

This powerful Psalm, like all Scripture, is God-breathed, though it’s not known who actually penned the words. It has often been referred to as the 9-1-1 call to God, the one we frequently go to when praying for God’s protection and help in time of need.

His very whispers of encouragement and strength flow through every verse, reminding us that we can rest in His shadow in the most difficult of days.

His promises are true — He rescues, He protects, He answers, He is with us in trouble, He delivers us from the battles, and He honors those who acknowledge His name.

The enemy will never have the final say over our lives, for God is the One who holds us secure.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:1-2,4,11,14-16).

5. Our Helper in Psalm 121

This Psalm is a hope-filled reminder that we can fully depend on God for help, that He is constantly watching over us, protecting our coming and going.

Though not fully known, some Bible scholars have suggested that Hezekiah, also known as the praying king, is the one who authored this chapter.

The very character of God is poured out through these verses, our mighty Protector, our faithful Helper, our loving Lord who cares for us and our families continually.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you — the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:1-8).

For further reading:

What Are the Psalms of Praise?

6 Beautiful Psalms to Encourage You in Your Daily Life

Why Is Psalm 91 Important During COVID-19?

5 Psalms of Lament to Remind Us We Are Not Alone

Reflecting on God’s Consistent Love (Psalm 80)

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Debbie's HeadshotDebbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog debbiemcdaniel.com.