I stood in the doorway and looked into what had previously been known as my “war room.” I had fought a lot of battles there. Some flat on my face, some on my knees, some pacing the length of the room declaring God’s plan would prevail. But I was tired and disappointed and discouraged. And I turned my back on my war room and walked slowly down the stairs. Why bother praying anyway? I couldn’t see anything changing. Maybe prayer works for other people, people that have more faith, people that never doubt, people that are Godlier than me.
Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Maybe you feel that way right now. Maybe I can help. In my journey of prayer there have been three things that I’ve discovered help me regain my equilibrium when I’m ready to give up.
1. I get mad.
I have found that getting righteously ticked off will often stop my downward spiral into the dark abyss of discouragement. I’ve traveled enough miles in life to know the devil hates it when I pray. I know he wants me feeling worn out and worn down and wondering why I ever thought prayer was a good idea in the first place. His voice is like a cassette playing over and over again in my mind, “Merrie, just give up!” he whispers. “clearly prayer isn’t working, God’s not hearing you anymore”
The temptation to quit looms large. And yet, what seems to work in my favour as his voice gets louder is that I’m just scrappy enough to despise the fact that I’m playing into his hand if I chose to quit praying. I hate the thought of him winning and me losing. So little by little I begin to rise up and shake off my disappointment (sometimes it takes longer than other times). Then I find a room to raise my voice and declare out loud, (so that my spirit can hear my mouth saying it) that I know what the enemy’s plan is and it’s not working with this gal! No sirrreee!!!
2. I pray Scripture.
It might just be me but when it seems like prayer isn’t working and I’m about ready to throw in the towel, I can get a bit whiny in prayer. “aww come on God…seriously!” “I’m holding up my end of the bargain, what’s the deal here?” “I’m asking and seeking and knocking but no one’s coming to the door!”
Looking back I now can see I had a growing sense of entitlement in prayer. I had established a transactional relationship with God. If I do this, you should do this. Sometimes I’d be so sure of a desired outcome and anything other than that simply wasn’t an option. And then I found Jeremiah 1:12 “I’m watching over my Word to perform it” God spoke it directly to Jeremiah to assure Him of His never ending commitment to him. That resonated deeply with me, He wasn’t watching over MY word, MY wish, MY whine to perform it, He was watching over HIS Word. And because we serve a faithful God not one word of His will fail. I loved knowing that I was praying His Word I was, at the same time, praying His will. It infused my prayers with new power and a holy confidence.
3. I think long.
We want everything fast, our food, our blessings, our cash, our answers to prayer. But that’s not how prayer works. I need to be reminded of this when answers are slow in coming or not coming at all. I need to think of the long game. My mom was an expert at this. My brother walked away from faith when he was 15 or so. For fifty years my mom prayed for him. Fifty years! But I don’t want to have to pray for fifty years, you say. I hear you. Neither do I!
At the age of 65 my brother was diagnosed with cancer and 4 months before he died he had a genuine conversion experience and now lives with Jesus. My mother at the age of 94 died 27 days later. Was 50 years of praying worth it? EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT! My mom would tell you every late night, early morning, weeping, begging, declaring prayer was worth it.
Discouraged in prayer? Wanna give up? I know what that feels like friend. I have another plan why don’t you do what I’ve learned to do. Get mad, pray Scripture and think long. It’s worked for me.