A Study of the Psalms for the Anxious Heart
June 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2009-1
When stress abounds, soothe your anxious heart with peace and praise.
From constant waves of negative news to meeting family, career, and community needs, women today often feel more anxious than ever. Amidst the clamor of the world and the internal longings for peace, our overwhelming need is for more of God’s extraordinary presence, peace, and power in our lives.
Join Becky Harling for a 6-week study that looks to Psalm 94:19: “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy!” The Extraordinary Power of Praise will help you put into practice the two-step process for soothing an anxious heart: finding joy to replace anxiety and learning to pour out our hearts to God in praise. Each day includes a study of a Psalm, thought provoking questions, and short morning and evening prayers. You’ll also find suggested praise songs and prayer journaling prompts to help you engage more deeply with God. As you meditate on the Psalms throughout this 6-week study, you’ll experience the genuine joy of God’s presence, develop a positive outlook in the midst of the world’s stress, and find victory over fear and anxiety.
The Extraordinary Power of Praise is suited for both individual and group use. For more of Becky’s engaging, empathetic Bible teaching, go deeper into this study with the companion video series, available on DVD or for download. You can also find more peace through the Psalms with Becky’s latest daily devotional Psalms for the Anxious Heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Becky Harling has a degree in Biblical Literature and is a sought-after speaker and Bible teacher at women’s conferences and retreats. Through her writing, Becky creatively combines deep biblical insight with her powerful testimony and the stories of other women. Her life experiences as a pastor’s wife, parent of four adult children, grandmother of five grandchildren, women’s ministries director, survivor of breast cancer and sexual abuse bring depth to her message. She brings a message of hope and healing that is refreshingly transparent. Becky is a gifted communicator with a passion for helping women find hope, healing, freedom, and ultimately life transformation through Jesus Christ. She is the author of Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom From Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge, The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents, How to Listen So People Will Talk, Who Do You Say That I AM, an 8-week Bible study, and Psalms for the Anxious Heart.
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety. I’m pretty sure I was a neurotic little kid who worried about a whole lot of stuff. I worried about my friends – had they accepted Jesus into their hearts, and would they go to heaven? I worried about my family – would they die and leave me all alone? I worried about suffering for my faith in Jesus – would I be brave enough? I know. Neurotic, right?
My anxiety followed me into adulthood and skyrocketed when I became a parent. How would I keep my children safe in a harsh and violent world? How would I keep them healthy (especially during the season when we were living in Sudan as missionaries)? What were the best parenting methods to raise kids to love Jesus and want to follow Him? My questions were endless and my fears varied.
In college, I discovered the joy of the book of Psalms. I began each day reading some, writing them out, and borrowing the words in my prayers. It felt like the psalmists were giving voice to many of my feelings. I discovered that they didn’t give easy answers for negative emotions. Instead, they invited me to feel all my emotions and bring them to God. As I copied their words in my journal, as well as my own thoughts and feelings, my heart found comfort. I felt understood. It was as if the psalmists were my empathetic friends.
While still in the journey of raising kids, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nothing sends anxiety into a tailspin quite like cancer! Questions flooded my mind: Would I be alive to finish raising my kids? Would I live to see them married and having children of their own? How would cancer impact their faith? I dove into Psalm 46 and Psalm 27, memorizing both. God needed to become my refuge in a new, relevant, and life-sustaining way!
As I grappled with the severity of my diagnosis, a mentor of mine challenged me to begin each day by praising God. At the time it felt ridiculous. Who feels like praising God for cancer? Right? Yet, I figured I had nothing to do. In addition to memorizing the Psalms, I began borrowing the words of the psalmists to praise God. “God, I praise You! You are my refuge and strength! You are my ever-present help in times of trouble. Even with cancer, I will not fear. You are with me and I praise You” (based on Psalm 46:1, 5).
The more I studied the Psalms, the more I discovered that the psalmists practiced a two-step rhythm: They poured out their hearts to God authentically and then praised God by faith passionately.
When they poured out their hearts, their honesty was raw. They held nothing back and didn’t worry about how their anger, hurt, or worry was coming across to God. They just dumped! “Strike all my enemies on the jaw!” (Ps. 3:7). “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Ps. 13:1). Wow! Don’t you feel like praying that sometimes? Their praise was equally exuberant and passionate. “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp” (Ps. 149:3). Imagine uninhibited and unreserved dancing-in-the-aisles, throw-your-hands-up-and-shout type of praise.
As I began to practice this two-step process, pouring out my heart, and then praising God by faith, I felt a shift in my spirit. Gradually, faith replaced fear, peace replaced worry, and joy replaced anxiety. New confidence and courage rose, not in myself, but in God’s goodness and what He could do through me. You see, friend, “God invites us to bring before Him our rage, doubt, and terror – but He intends for us to do so as a part of worship.”
Holding this study book in my hand invites me into a sacred place with eager anticipation and poised pen. The beauty and layout of the book draws me in, but it’s the honesty and authenticity of the author that spurs me on to dig deeper for those truths I desperately need. Each Morning Prayer prepares me to plumb the depths of God’s love and discover necessary biblical truths. Becky writes from the heart and helps us discover the power of praise because she has lived this. We all need these tools of praise to help us break through the insidious barriers of anxiety.
— Heidi McLaughlin
International speaker and author of Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship and Suffering
The Extraordinary Power of Praise is the perfect prescription for the difficult times we are living in. In its pages, you will find peace, comfort, and hope as you dig into God’s Word and the truths that Becky shares each day. Her journey of learning to praise even in the most difficult circumstances will inspire your faith and ignite a new passion in you to follow Jesus with praise in your heart and on your lips. You will want to make time and space to ponder each day’s questions and to reflect and meditate on the Scriptures Becky shares, so this study goes deep into your heart and makes a lasting impact.
— Kristin Lemus, founder of Brave Moms, speaker, and podcast host
Becky’s perspective on anxiety and worry is one we can all relate to. She beautifully leads us to God’s Word and praise to renew our minds and settle our hearts on the truths about God that we can often forget during times of stress or anxiety. Through the practices of praise, memorizing God’s Word, and dwelling on the truths we read about before our head hits the pillow, she helps the reader by giving them a plan to implement these practices in their everyday lives. I believe her encouragement and teaching will help us all let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts more fully as we focus our hearts toward Him.
— Rebecca Dotson George
Speaker, writer, and host of the Do The Thing Movement podcast