I enjoy spending time in our Project Inspired Girl Talk Facebook group (if you haven’t joined, you should!), and one gal shared there recently that she is having a real problem right now with feeling fearful of prayer and doubting its power. She shared that her struggles with feeling so hopeless were a result of the fact that every time she prays about a particular situation going on in a friend’s life, that situation only seems to get worse. It’s starting to make her feel scared to even pray about it anymore, for fear that her prayers will lead to something worse in her friend’s life.
My heart went out to her and this is what I commented on her post in response:
“I’m so sorry! That’s so hard. What came to mind as I read your post was Joseph’s story. For years and years, his life was not going along very well. Thrown into a pit by his own brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown into prison and forgotten about, etc., etc., etc. I’m sure he probably prayed a whole lot that whole time, and yet things kept going from bad to worse. At the end of the story, though, we find out why: The Lord was sovereignly and graciously orchestrating things in such a way behind the scenes to where Joseph would be placed in just such a position that he would be able to be used of God to save his people from a terribly long famine. The Lord had gone before Him all along and was, even in the darkest time, preparing a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel and providing for the needs of Israel. I hope that encourages you today!”
That is what I want you to know today, too, friend, if you are doubting the power and goodness of prayer. God has not left you or forgotten about your pain. He has not turned a blind eye, deaf ear or cold heart to your situation. He’s working, He’s there and He loves you. Take a firm hold of the joy that comes from Him—that joy that can be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And as an old song goes, “When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart.”
Here are two things to remember when prayer seems to be getting you nowhere.
1. It’s always the darkest before the dawn.
It may be a cliché, but it’s true. If you have been praying about a particular situation and it just seems to keep going from bad to worse, I want to encourage your heart with the reminder that oftentimes things do look their bleakest right before God works a miracle. When things seem impossible and God proves Himself able, He gets all the praise and glory and our faith is built in the process. Often, right before God is about to bring about a breakthrough in someone’s life, it is then that the enemy begins working overtime in an attempt to keep Him from being successful. Stay the course and keep the faith. God is at work!
2. We are called to pray.
The fact of the matter is that we are commanded to be a prayerful people. Communing with God intimately through prayer is one of the greatest privileges we have as Christ-followers. First Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to “pray without ceasing,” and the truth we can embrace is that God is not going to call us to do something that is not in our best interest or in the best interests of others. Praying for someone is not going to bring about a bad result. It may rile up the enemy a bit and send him into overdrive attempting to ruin everything, but we have to remember this: God is still all-powerful, all-knowing, in control and sovereign—even over Satan! We can pray our hearts out on behalf of ourselves and others, all the while resting in the sovereignty and goodness of God.
If you are walking through a desert season in your life right now or witnessing a loved one in just such a season, take heart! Keep praying. Never stop praying about the situation. The Lord delights in hearing from you and will work in and through you as you pray to Him about what is on your heart. Take advantage of the privilege and opportunity you have to pour your heart out before the God of the universe, and be prepared to watch Him work!