Struggling With Prayer

Umbrella Girl

Now we see through a glass, darkly; (1 Cor 13:12)
I need to be very honest…

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to pray because most of the time, I don’t see any positive difference being made as a result of praying…

I’ve prayed for years for the physical and mental health of my mother to improve, and she only continues to spiral downward in every possible way. Likewise, my father’s physical issues are not only not improving, but they continue to worsen despite my every tear soaked prayer.

I’ve prayed for years for guidance in how to help improve interactions with my husband, who can be a difficult man, but the situation has stagnated for years, and not from my lack of trying.

I’ve prayed for years for myself to be liberated from the relentless struggles with anxiety and depression and insomnia. I’ve tried different things for all of these issues, and can find no lasting relief from any of them.

And what about praying for all those war torn, poverty stricken places in the world? Places of terrorism and horrific persecution. I imagine that millions of Christians have prayed for such places for many, many years. Yet nothing ever really changes, does it?

Pleasd forgive my negative attitude. I really, really don’t like feeling this way or talking this way. But I’m tired of holding it in. I’m tired of hiding it. I’m just TIRED. I’m tired of EVERYTHING.

When I get home from work, all I want to do is space out on the couch, binge watch my favorite TV shows, and binge eat my favorite comfort foods. I’ve gained weight over the past two years because of this. But it’s a mental escape for a little while. An escape from feeling completely helpless to improve - thru prayer - any situations in my personal life or in the lives of others. It feels as though my prayers hit the ceiling and fall back down, crumbled in pieces. Because I don’t see improvement over the things I’ve been praying about for a long time…

I know about the parable in which Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer. But my goodness, how long must we persist without seeing any fruitful results?? It’s frustrating and discouraging and tiring and soul killing…

I just don’t feel like asking Him for anything anymore. Not for others, and not for myself. If I stop asking Him for His help, then I will stop feeling disappointed by Him. I feel like the only thing left for me to do is just go with the flow, and whatever is gonna be…is gonna be. To stop asking Him to intervene, because it never seems to happen, as far as I can tell. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps He has intervened many times on my behalf, and I’m simply not aware of it. If so, it sure would be great to actually be able to see His interventions as a result of my prayers.

I know that many others have seen Him do wonderful, mighty things as a result of their prayers. So the problem must be with ME. The problem is certainly not on His end. And I’m certainly not questioning His love and goodness and kindness and wisdom. I don’t mean to sound bitter and ungrateful for all that I know He has done for me. SAVING me, for starters!

So where does that leave me? So where do I go from here?

:noidea2 :frown :noidea2 :frown :noidea2 :frown :noidea2 :frown :noidea2
 

arik88

Active Member
Pray, pray and more prayer don't give up, look the long way you have made it believe in the lord there are other people who had it worst and some left God and they don't turn back. Everything is life is sufferment but to be happy in your sufferment is the way to make your prayers come true. Make deals with the lord in yoru prayers and do more for others again and again. He is there but maybe there is something your not doing right ? is their some small detail ? pray and pray for him tot ell ya in the nights and the mornings I pray constantly all day and he has answer my prayers.

Try harder please don't want to be so hard in front of you and perhaps your life is more complicated sorry of that but he loves ya. The lord doesn't put A weight so much on our shoulders but to pass the tests of life and we all have to pass them.
 

Betty

Well-Known Member
I prayed 15 years before my husband was saved. It wasn't God that did not work it was my husband's stubbornness. Like you, I could not understand why God did not save him in the beginning of my prayers. Then I realized that God does not save people against their will. I also suffered from anxiety and depression. I found doing something for other, helps. I sent cards to those who were suffering. When I looked for an appropriate verse to put in the card, I would be encouraged.

I also suffer from several health issues, but one day I will have a perfect body and so will you.

The Bible says that lawlessness would increase in the last days. Pray for people to get saved. Pray for your husband. Remember we will soon go me with Jesus. God does hear your prayers. Read the Bible and encourage yourself in God’s Word. Do not stop praying and praising God.
Betty
 

ChrisT

Active Member
I'd like to start by saying I empathize with you greatly, and pray for your situation. Most of what I have to say about this you may not want to hear, but I think it's worth meditating on:

1. There are certain sins in our life that the Bible makes clear can impede our prayers and petitions to God, particularly a heart of unforgiveness. Search within yourself through prayer if there is any proverbial ball-and-chain in your life that might be weighing you down spiritually.

2. The primary purpose of prayer is as a tool of sanctification and communication with God. Ergo, prayer should ultimately be focused on transforming ourselves spiritually, not the situations or people around us. If you have a pre-determined or fixed idea of the resolution to your petition, you are not in a mind frame to receive the perfect wisdom or solution God offers through His omniscient providence. It also skews our hindsight where we overlook His intervention(s) because it does not fit our preconceived notions of a satisfactory resolution.

Read lots of Psalms. I find those help, as they're very transparent about weariness through long tribulation and reflecting on God's tenderloving mercies. Stay strong in The Lord sister. He is perfectly long-suffering and faithful.
 

Work4Peanuts

I like being just a Well-Known Member
It's hard to be kept in the dark, isn't it? I suspect that there is much God is doing behind the scenes when I pray that I just can't see. It's discouraging to be told to ask for things and then not get the things that we have asked for, especially when you know that they should be within God's will.

I've come to the point where I've realized that even if I have faith in Him, in His love and goodness, if I pray, then get upset that He's not answering it when I want, and how I want, that I'm basically questioning His sovereignty. I'm not saying this is your problem, by the way. It's just been something that the Lord has been teaching me (rather painfully) recently. He is God. He knows things that I don't, and He's working things His way without my knowledge and permission, because He doesn't need it, and He'll do it better His way, anyway. He works over the long term because He can see the end from the beginning. Because He is God (and not me). The other part of the lesson was that I was using Him like a vending machine. Input prayer and output desired result. I didn't mean to, and I don't really think about Him that way, but it happened like that. I had my prayer list, and was going over it daily right after my Bible study time, because that what I thought was expected of me, but the truth was I wasn't actually spending time with Him. There was no "be still and know." He wants a real relationship with me, not just to be my sugar daddy. By not answering the prayers immediately, He was pointing that out. So I've been trying to listen more.

Is this your problem? I don't know. It was definitely mine. Maybe instead of zoning out with food and tv, turn to Him, and ask Him to teach you what it is He wants you to learn. And realize that whether or not you are like me, that we are currently in a war and the enemy would love it if you got discouraged and decide to stop praying.
 

Jan51

Well-Known Member
I have had similar struggles with prayer in the past. I understand your frustration, and the feeling, why even pray? I used to ask God to do certain things, to give me things I wanted, to change things I didn't like, to change certain people. Basically, "MY will be done." I tried to learn more about how to pray. Many said be more specific so I tried that. Many said to have more faith, but I was full of doubt.

My ideas about prayer started changing when I began reading the Bible more seriously, like, straight through. I began to understand from Scripture that God is working in everyone's lives all the time, growing believers and drawing unbelievers.

I think the Bible teaches us to pray that God's will be done, and it also teaches that His will is indeed being done, even as we pray for it. I thank Him that He IS working in each person and situation. I don't ask Him much specific because I really don't know what ought to happen; He is already working there anyway, and His timing is perfect. After decades of struggling with ideas about prayer, I have come to think that prayer needs to be more about expressing gratitude--for who God is, for what He has done (as recorded in Scripture and from what we know of our own lives and the lives of others), and for what He is going to do. It is more about expressing faith and trust in each of the situations I hold up to Him than pleading for Him to do what He has already assured me He is doing. Praying in this way leaves me with peace in my heart; "pleading" leaves me with uncertainty, wondering and worrying about how it will turn out.

Does prayer change God's mind about anything? Of course not. Even if something is going one way, then we pray, then it changes an what we prayed for actually happens, didn't God know that's what was going to happen and have ultimate control over that? Can our idea be better than what God is already planning? Of course not. We are to trust in God's sovereignty over everything, in His wisdom and justice and righteousness. Is prayer to change God or change us? We are told to pray always and about everything, but does that mean prayer is basically about asking God to do stuff? Shouldn't our prayers be as much about recognizing what God is doing and thanking Him for what He has done and is doing? Prayer is conversation with God, not just giving Him our list.

In the Old Testament, obedient believers were promised physical blessings under the Law, but the church is promised tribulations, John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Romans 8:35, II Corinthians 1:5, Philippians 1:29-30, I Thessalonians 3:3, II Timothy 3:12, I Peter 4:12-19. Psalm 11:4-5 and Proverbs 17:3 explain why we can expect these things in our lives.

In the Gospels we are told to pray in Jesus' name--what does that mean? Does it mean to pray for anything we want, then at the end say, "in Jesus' name I pray, amen"? I actually used to think that. No, it means that if we pray as Jesus would, then we can pray in confidence, in the authority of His name. What kinds of things would He ask the Father for? Mat. 6:7-13, John 17.

I was particularly interested to find that believers are not taught to pray that things would turn out the way they want. Paul tells of his tribulations in II Corinthians 11:23-28. He doesn't present these experiences as times when God let him down or didn't answer prayer; apparently Paul was more concerned about serving the Lord no matter what, than his personal pleasure and comfort. He implored God to remove his "thorn in the flesh." but when God said no, he chose to be content with his weakness and see God's purpose in it, II Cor. 12:7-10. A couple times Paul prays for something specific to happen--that he might be able to visit a church in order to build them up in the faith--and he prays that if it is God's will, he may. In II Thes. 3:1-2 he asks them to pray that he would be rescued from evil men who apparently were trying to keep him from spreading the gospel.

What else does Paul pray for? Rom. 1:8-12, I Cor. 1:4-8, II Cor. 1:8-11, Eph. 1:15-23, Phil. 1:3-11, Col. 1:3-12, I Thes. 1:2-5, II Thes. 1:3,11-12, II Tim. 1:3, Philemon 1:4-6. He has great advice in Phil. 4:4,6-7, I Thes. 5:16-18.

We don't see Paul praying or teaching Christians to pray for safety, health, healing, protection from danger for self or others, or for God to cause things to turn out a certain way--unlike most of our prayers. He blesses God, is often giving thanks for something, and prays for the spread of the gospel. For believers, he prays for God's mercy and comfort in affliction, for courage and encouragement, to be pleasing to God, to walk worthy of Him, for boldness, knowledge, discernment, wisdom, understanding, to not look at things outwardly. He prays that they might endure hardship, persevere, not complain, be patient in trials, recognize what God is doing in their lives, that through prayer God would grant them peace in every circumstance, that their faith might become effective, that God would be glorified in them. They were to pray for the authorities, so that they might be able to live godly lives. These are things we should pray for ourselves and for others. Believers are to rejoice in the Lord, pray about everything, be thankful, and trust Him with their anxieties.

We find that the Bible presents prayer as about God and for the fulfilling of God's purposes in our lives and in this world. It doesn't seem to be for giving us what we want. I used to think Psalm 37:4 meant that whatever I really wanted, God would give me, as a reward for trying my best to live for Him; now I understand it to mean that, as I draw closer to the Lord, His desires will become my desires. Warning: If you want something really bad, more than you desire God's will, He may give it to you to teach you a lesson, Psalm 78:18,29, 106:15. After God told Hezekiah he would die, Hezekiah in bitterness asked that God prolong his life 15 years; God did, and during those years Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, the most wicked king of Israel ever. II Kings 20:1-6, 21, 21:1,9.

God will meet our needs in the way He sees best. He may allow us to experience great need in order to test us, to increase our faith and dependence on Him, to be a testimony to those around us, etc. II Corinthians 1:3-7. Or He may choose to provide temporal blessings. He is able to give us everything, Eph. 3:20, but He does not always choose to do so, for His own inscrutable reasons.

Many Christians have experienced severe testing, pain or death, or been tortured and killed for their faith, and God did not choose to save them; others see God intervene in miraculous ways. He has a different plan for each of us. In II Thes. 1:4 Paul doesn't pray that those believers would escape this persecution or that it would end. We all are tested and tried, whether persecuted for our faith or simply through the many trials of life. But Ephesians 1:3 makes it clear that for the church, our blessings are spiritual, not necessarily physical. Rom. 8:28 puts all this in perspective for us. Whatever God permits in our lives is working to accomplish what God thinks is good: our spiritual growth, that He is being glorified as we and others see God through us, and our ultimate reward in the kingdom and on into eternity.

I think we can pray about anything we want to. But I think most of the things we pray for are covered by praying, "Thy will be done." When I pray that, I usually then add, "... in my life, in so-and-so's life...," in this or that situation, etc. I don't know what God is planning to use in anyone's life, to accomplish His purposes. I think many of the things we pray for God to change, are actually the things He is using to grow and refine us. But however we pray, we know that the Spirit intercedes for us because we don't know how to pray as we should, Rom. 8:26-27. God will do what is best. I think praying is mostly to help us focus our thoughts on God and develop trust in Him and to look for His hand in all that happens.
 

Spartan Sprinter 1

Formerly known as Shaun
i understand your predicament to, like Jan says, we have to read God's word to kind of get a better insight into what his will is and remembering his ways are beyond ours and that the way he answers prayers can be in ways we can never anticipate.

Prayer is the most powerful tool we have, Satan will try his utmost best to discourage us from using this powerful weapon.

If it's of any encouragement it says that our prayers are like incense to God that how much he values it
 

yrrek

Well-Known Member
Praying is just talking to God. If you’re struggling to pray the old fashioned way.. try just speaking out loud when you have the thoughts in your head. And also… one thing that helps me connect is remembering that the Holy Spirit shares our body. So, thinking of yourself as two and not just one makes you more aware of his presence. We are one but also two if that makes since lol. Just some of why I do.
 

Kerbluey

Well-Known Member
How are you doing, UmbrellaGirl? I’ve always loved your username, by the way. I’ve felt the same as you many times.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking of something my mom and I were doing back around 2011. I suddenly realized God protected us from a man who was a predator. I was astonished I didn’t realize it till now, 10 years later. I do believe God brought it to mind to show me how He’s always working even if we never see it. I suspect we will one day be amazed by all He did without out knowledge.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
Kerbluey you have made a good point. None of us really know how much God has done in our lives. That is why I am always touched when someone has a testimony where they have given up and suddenly God does something. And sometimes we are our own worst enemy!
Umbrella Girl some how or some way God is going to show you how much He loves you and you are going to be shocked!
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Umbrella Girl, knowing that you are caring for you parents and that it's hard work, you are often in my prayers. And, we all can continue to lift you up in prayer on your behalf. Sometimes, believers need other believers to also have faith for them in regards to difficult situations. I'll be praying for the things you mentioned in your first post. There's been some good comments on this thread.

I thought I'd add that with some long term, wait on God stuff, it's helped me to pray, "Lord, this is hard but I know that you are working somehow and I thank you that you are doing so." This really takes the weight of some of these things off my shoulders and removes worry from my heart which can stress me out. When dealing with difficult people I've asked God for times of refreshment and how to set boundaries until that person's heart is ready for God's work and God has done so. It's ok to pray for encouragement for the day, for extra strength, help and guidance.....even if it's short, 'help me God!' prayers. Don't think that God has abandoned you or that you are not doing important things right now, inside His will. Know that as a child of God you are so loved, precious and a delight to the Lord. :hug :)

I'm so sorry that you have insomnia, that's really tough! :sad Something that has really helped my daughter is taking about 500 MCG of melatonin about 2-3 hours before bedtime to get the body started on a healthy sleep schedule has really helped her. We learned this from a sleep doctor......perhaps seeing a doctor about this would be helpful? Just getting good sleep is half the battle sometimes! :nod

At any rate, you are loved sister in Christ and being prayed for. :hug

:pray
 
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