Saturday, September 15, 2012

When Prayer Hurts

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear? Or cry to you
Violence!” and you will not save me?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
~Habakkuk 1:2–3

Sometimes, I feel like Habakkuk…. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been praying for something so desperately, looking for an open door, only to have the Lord close it.  After so much faith and believing, tears and agony, He delivers an outcome I never would have expected.

Why?  What’s the use of praying? Is it worth laboring and wrestling with God over a child who’s struggling to survive?  Or perhaps we wrestle over a debilitating illness and can’t understand why God would let our friend suffer like that.  Or maybe it’s a family crisis that seems unrelenting…  a marriage that seems to be pulling apart at the seams and we pray desperately for God to save it.  A barren woman longing for a child— It could be any one of these things, but it seems like, despite our prayers and our tears, things just keep getting worse, as if God doesn’t seem to be listening or answering at all. 

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
~Psalm 77

The disappointments of unanswered prayer erode our faith and discourage persistence. The pervasive presence of disaster, evil and injustice make us angry. Pain and suffering magnify such feelings and may completely overwhelm the ability to pray.
Why does God answer the way He does, at times?  I really can’t answer that, to be honest.  I don’t have all the answers, and there have been many times in my life where I cry in agony over situations, but what I do know, is this. 
The cross.  I am sure of the resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ, of His victory over pain, evil and death, and the fact that God took our suffering into Himself.  I am never alone when I undergo the pains and trials of this life, and I am held close through the dark times.

Sometimes it hurts to pray.  In fact, sometimes we are so overburdened and in so much emotion/physical pain that we can’t pray, but we have to remember that those are the times when God holds us closest.  He intercedes on our behalf.  He knows that we are being stretched to the breaking point, but He never lets us break.  He sustains us, and He carries us. 
In fact, there is a poem I would love to share with you all.  I have always loved it, and my family even has it printed on a throw blanket in our living room.  It’s called Footprints in the Sand.

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:
"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

I’m not sure why I wrote this blog post this morning, perhaps someone else needed to hear it today, but I hope that it encourages you and reminds you that even when we hurt, and even when God doesn’t seem to answer our most desperate prayers, He is still there…


  1. Well, it was appropriate for me right now, so I'm glad you posted it. :)

  2. Thanks, guys. I am glad it blessed you. :)


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