Finding Peace from Anxiety Through Psalm 27

Jennifer Slattery
Updated Jul 01, 2024
Finding Peace from Anxiety Through Psalm 27

In all things and at all times, God’s radiance goes before us, surrounds us, and lives within us. No darkness, not even all the forces of evil combined, will or can overcome us.

When I feel anxious and afraid, I receive comfort from King David’s prayers recorded in the Psalms. Although anointed as a youth to rule over ancient Israel, he endured nearly two decades of intense hardship prior to assuming the throne. Afraid for his life, he fled his homeland to hide in caves and even in the land occupied by ancient Israel’s enemies. While Scripture reveals David himself as a mighty, God-empowered warrior, he nonetheless struggled with fear. But he never let his distress paralyze him. Instead, he sought the One greater than all his foes combined. 

God’s presence and David’s intimate and raw conversations with the Lord helped shift his focus off the crises in front of him and onto the love, strength, and faithfulness of God. This, in turn, allowed David to rest, soothed and secure, in his Father’s embrace. 

When panic jumbles our thoughts and our tongues, we can use David’s prayers as a guide. This helps reengage our “thinking brains” with the truth able to dispel our fear. Psalm 27 is one of my favorites because it reminds me of who I am in Christ, to Christ, and all I possess because of Christ. 

God’s Radiance

This passage begins with these words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV).

This reminds me of John 1:5, which states, speaking of Jesus, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Those familiar with New Testament history might remember that Jesus came to Earth during dark times. People were dying of hunger and disease, seeing their lives destroyed by demon possession, their financial security stolen by Roman oppression, and God’s temple tarnished by corruption. 

Jesus crashed into that painful environment with His life-giving light—a light He then gave to all His followers, ensuring we’d never have to walk a step in darkness. In all things and at all times, God’s radiance goes before us, surrounds us, and lives within us. No darkness, not even all the forces of evil combined, will or can overcome us. 

Therefore, as David wrote, whom shall we fear? We belong to and are held and protected by our victorious and ever-present Savior. 

Fixing Our Attention on Christ

After proclaiming his confidence and determination not to live consumed with fear, David wrote, “One thing I ask from the Lord, and this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple” (v. 4). 

Obviously, David wasn’t reflecting upon God’s physical traits. Instead, he gazed, or meditated upon, the Lord’s unchanging character. As David had already expressed, God is the Light and our Savior. He is also the all-knowing Creator who sustains all things and remains in complete control. One aspect I find most comforting, however, is recognizing that His incomprehensible power is contained within His tender, merciful, fatherly heart.  

David shows us what it looks like to practice the faith-building discipline described in Philippians 4:8. After encouraging us to present our most upsetting concerns to God, Scripture states, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Although I can envision numerous noble, lovely, and praiseworthy things, this verse always draws my heart to Christ, the most admirable and excellent in all that exists. As I reflect upon various ways He embodies each of the attributes recorded in Philippians 4:8, the truth of His invincibility and perfect care quiet my fears and bolster my faith. I’m reminded that I am His child, showered with grace upon grace and destined for victory. 

Comfort in God’s Unconditional Love

According to neural scientist and Christian psychiatrist Dr. Curt Thompson, the human brain can do really hard things for an extended period of time, so long as it doesn’t have to do them alone. As a wife, I can understand this. I tend to feel much more confident and relaxed when with my husband. I find it more difficult to sleep when he travels, and challenges, even particularly big ones, always seem more manageable when we’re together.

I know in my head that God is more faithfully present than the most devoted spouse. When anxiety hits, however, my fear can overshadow this truth. Therefore, it’s helpful to read Scripture that reminds me of my Father’s nearness. David’s prayer assures me that, even if those I love most abandon me, my God never will. In Psalm 27:10, he wrote, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (NIV). 

The Bible makes a similar promise in Hebrews 13:5-6, which reads, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'” 

Seek God’s Guidance

David encountered numerous confusing and seemingly impossible scenarios in which he didn’t know how to respond. He also recognized that an error in judgment could cost him his life. Understanding how much he depended on God, he wrote, “Teach me Your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors” (v. 11). 

When I face a significant problem, I find comfort in knowing I don’t have to figure out the solution. I don’t need to strategize my way to safety, nor could I, if I tried. My perspective is much too short-sighted and incomplete. Instead, God invites me—and you—to come to Him in our fear and uncertainty, trusting Him to give us the direction we need. Jesus promised this in John 10 when He said He’d call His sheep (us) by name, that He’d go ahead of us, and we would follow because we’d know His voice. Therefore, we can remain confident in the face of uncertainty, trusting that our future is never uncertain because we’re lovingly led by the One with the master plan for all history. 

Holding Tight to Hope

Scripture gives no indication as to when David wrote Psalm 27. Was it when he first fled from his homeland? Did he pen the words while hiding in caves to avoid death by Saul and his army? Nothing within this passage reveals how long he’d been living as a fugitive, but whether he’d endured hardship for months or years, he knew eventually his frightening and painful circumstances would end. 

In verse 13, he wrote, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Then, speaking courage into his soul, he added, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (v. 14).

Although his circumstances and the length of his struggle might’ve said otherwise, David knew the blessing was coming, and it did. After nearly two decades on the run, Saul died and David rose to the throne. What’s more, God used everything David experienced to make him into a godly and courageous leader known as a “man after God’s own heart.” 

According to the Bible, the Lord won’t waste our tears or frustration, either. As Romans 8:28 assures, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” While that might not eradicate our fear, our hope in Christ will certainly make our frightening moments easier to bear. 

I’m so thankful God preserved Psalm 27 for me and you to learn and gain strength from. This passage, when reflected upon and modeled in our prayers, reminds us of God’s light, love, and faithful presence and invites us to fix our gaze upon Him, trusting Him to bring beauty from today’s ashes and thornbushes.  

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jeremy Perkins

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who co-hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast and, along with a team of 6, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and taught at writers conferences across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at

She’s passionate about helping people experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and GodTube.