I once heard a famous pastor say the last five minutes before the miracle are when we’re tempted the most to give up. When we don’t see the answer we crave and our loved one keeps making poor decision after poor decision, we stop. What’s the use, right? Our hurt and weariness take over and we don’t realize we are letting the enemy win. Our pleas to the Lord stop.
A few years ago, this was my prayer life.
After over a decade of interceding for a loved one who struggles with drug addiction, I was weary and frustrated. My family and I went home each December for a week after Christmas and I tried to ignore the constant pain of watching him throw his life away. From the outside, it probably appeared as though nothing was wrong. This is the southern way. Sweep it under the rug, and pretend like everything is well. But the more I tried to pretend, the heavier the bitterness weighed on my heart.
I would see pictures of other families on social media during the holidays and crave normalcy. We all know social media doesn’t tell the whole story, right? But sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking those highlight reels are real life. Especially now, when we don’t see those we love as often.
One morning, after hearing about the latest family drama over the phone, God prompted my heart to pray again. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what to say, and my words felt tired and washed up. I looked out the window at the morning fog, which seemed to be a reflection of my mental state and said, “God, I don’t know what to pray anymore. Please, just be my words. You know.”
Friends, this is the exact place where God can use our prayers the most. When we stop trying to fix the situation ourselves, and let his Spirit move.
Later that evening, after spending time with the Lord, I knew what I needed to pray. I sensed the Spirit telling me, “Pray for him to see his life has value. That his life is still worth saving.”
So, I did. Even though I was uncertain this was from God, I prayed and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I had a voice message from a dear friend who lived in the Middle East. I had asked her to pray too, but after years of texts, this was the first time she had ever sent me an audio message.
As I listened to her words, the tears flowed. She told me she was reading in Mark 5, where a demon-possessed man was wandering the tombs. This man was a complete outcast, and no one dared go near him.
“Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” Mark 5:5 NIV
After reading, she felt prompted to pray for my loved one. And specifically, for him to see that his life had value. The same Spirit who spoke to me spoke to my friend. He cared that much.
Friends, I will be the first to say I don’t yet see the answers to the prayers I’m praying. But that morning, God showed me not only that he is listening, but the lengths he went to for us. When we were far from him and turned our backs again and again, he didn’t give up on us. Let’s not give up on those we love either, even if the only thing we can do is intercede in prayer. He is working on our behalf and moving in ways we can’t see. He faithfully prompted my heart to come to him with the words needed. And he will do the same for you.
So when your hope is drying up, keep praying. When you’re all out of words, keep praying. When you’re not sure it’s making a difference, keep praying.
Praying isn’t about always getting the answers we want. It’s about having a divine encounter with the One who hears.
When there are other people involved, it can get messy. Why? Because God created us with a will. A will that can choose his ways or reject them. But you know what? He will use your clumsy appeals whether you realize it or not. Sometimes we just need a gentle nudge to keep coming to his throne.
Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers. Thank you for being a God who never stops moving on our behalf. Open our eyes to see you today. Help us to not rush past the things you are already doing, right here and right now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you need further encouragement that God hears our prayers, even when we don’t see the answer, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about those seasons when it doesn’t seem as though God hears us, and how to see that he is working, even when we life doesn’t look the way we anticipated. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“I can’t recommend this book enough!
Are you struggling to feel God’s presence?
Trying to understand His plan?
Understanding His plan…but not liking it?
Wanting God to hurry it along?
Feeling restless? Useless? Insignificant?
Abby uses her own life experiences to share Biblical truths and wonderful lessons on how to Shift your perspective from your will to God’s.
This book has already made a monumental impact on how I am seeing the world and my life. And even how I relate to and communicate with God.
Her honesty and down to earth approach to some complicated feelings and emotions left me feeling uplifted and hopeful.
I swear every woman I know should read this book!” -Cristie Golson
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.
Michele Morrison says
I just finished reading your book, Shift, it has been a tremendous help and encouragement to me! Thank you!
I have been severely burdened for my young adult daughter who suffers from Chron’s disease as well as anxiety. In the past year her anxiety has become severe, she had to move back home and has lead to a depression that has nearly crippled her. This mood disorder is prevalent in my family (My dad, 2 sisters, myself and my older daughter suffer this affluction) My heart and prayers go out to her but my prayers go unanswered, she has apparently rejected her faith in God and doesn’t want to hear my spiritual encouragement even though she is struggling in a pit! I have always found encouragement knowing Christ, as human, has experienced the same emotions we feel, however I have been counseled that Christ did not experience fear; Because He is God He cannot sin and fear is sin. I have argued that fear is a human emotion…not sin, and if Christ did not suffer fear then He cannot truly relate to my struggles. What do you think? I have not found a single person who can truly understand how important this is to me even though I have many loving friends who are devoted to knowing the Lord, including my Pastor. I would truly live to know your thoughts on this and be grateful for any answer! (Whether you agree with me or not! 😊)
Thank you in advance for your reply to me,
Abby McDonald says
Michele, I am so thankful to hear that Shift encouraged you during this season. Thank you for letting me know. As for your question, I am so glad you asked. I actually wrote an article about this topic a little over a year ago. I do believe Jesus experienced fear in the Garden of Gesthemane before going to the cross. Although the Bible does not specifically say this, his sweat becoming drops of blood indicates extreme stress and anxiety. However, He did not sin because He did not let fear have the final say. He was still obedient, and did what the Father sent Him to do. Here is the link to my article. I pray it blesses you and I will also pray for your daughter. I know that has to been heart wrenching. Have a Merry Christmas!