Question (from Facebook community): “I feel like I am all prayed out. I am angry and sad and want to lash out at everyone. What do you do when praying doesn’t seem to help?

This was from a woman whose anniversary was about to pass by with no acknowledgement, whose divorce is pending. She is hurting and she’s in the thick of it.

I totally get this.  There have been many moments throughout my marriage, my separation and even now when I felt like my prayers weren’t – and aren’t – doing any good.  I have felt a distance.  Even when I am doing nothing differently, even when I’m still trying to walk closely with God.  There is sometimes a silence that falls over me, a quiet that hovers over my life that is just too quiet. It can add to the loneliness that already accompanies us each day.

So, I have a few suggestions.

First, do something other than pray to try to stay close to God.  Try writing letters to him. Or take walks and when you’re sure you’re alone, say out loud whatever is on your mind. Memorize some Scripture. Serve someone who is worse off than you (there is always someone worse off than you). Go to a worship service at a different church. Read a book about marriage or about God if it’s too painful to read about marriage right now. Do something kind for your spouse/ex-spouse. (Yes, really.)

Second, ask others to pray for you in your place. All throughout Scripture people say that they’re praying for each other.  We pray for other people all the time.  But it can be so hard to ask for prayer sometimes, especially when the reason is that you just can’t pray for yourself any longer.  I believe though that this is one of the many gifts of the body of Christ. Allow someone to stand in the gap for you.  Allow someone to pray for you as if they are you. Allow yourself to be helped and ministered to in this intimate way.

One thing I set up was a prayer night for my marriage. One month before it was decided that we would separate and my husband moved out – all while being chided for wanting out and not really trying – I asked a dozen of my closest friends to meet at my mentor’s house and they prayed powerful prayers over me and my marriage and my then-husband and my children for over an hour-and-a-half. I cried through most of it. It was beautiful and sad and humbling. And as hard as it was, I am so, so glad I did that.

Third, keep praying anyway. This falls under the category of “fake it til you make it”. Now, obviously, God knows when you’re feeling prayed out or like your prayers don’t matter. So, just be honest. Tell him. And then, pray anyway. If you have to take a little break from praying for yourself and your situation, that’s fine, but really try to keep praying for others to keep that muscle in tune.

Fourth, show yourself some grace. It’s okay to feel this way. Your heart is on a roller coaster. Odds are you are feeling one thing yet feeling obligated to pray for another thing.  Or, you’ve prayed so long and hard and not seen results that you want to give up. Every feeling that you feel is okay to feel, as long as you handle it appropriately. Giving up on God altogether is not an appropriate response. Beating yourself up for not praying hard enough is also unnecessary. You’re in crisis. Everything takes a bit more effort. You will one day soon feel like praying again and feel the answers falling all around you.

Until then, rest in the knowledge that you’re held by God and by those who are walking beside you.

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

You have Successfully Subscribed!