April 24, 2014
I'm Tired of Praying the Same Prayers
"'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.'" 1 Samuel 1:15 (NIV 1984)
Just not having a good day. I'm tired of praying these same prayers!
I debated whether or not to update my Facebook status to reflect how I really felt. Not every day is a good day. This day was especially hard as I held my prayer journal. I thought, I just don't have it in me to pray those prayers again. I'm exhausted, worn out. I might be able to read my Bible, but pray? Not today.
I decided to share the reality of my emotional state on Facebook. Hoping my words would encourage someone else who was having a bad day and struggling to pray for things that break her heart.
There was another woman whose prayers were hard to pray. Her name was Hannah, and for years she prayed for and longed desperately for a child.
Each year, Hannah traveled with her husband to worship the Lord. One year in particular, the burden of her prayer was more than she could take. The Bible says, "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD" (1 Samuel 1:10, NIV 1984).
As she prayed in her heart, her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. The priest thought she was drunk! "'Not so, my LORD,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled ... I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief'" (vv. 15,16).
Eli, the priest, sensed Hannah's pain and stepped into her situation with words to encourage, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (v. 17). The story tells us that Eli's words made a difference, and Hannah left no longer sad.
While a priest didn't respond to my Facebook status, my dear friend Julie did. She had read my post and called, asking, "Are you OK?"
With those three short words, my dam of keeping-it-all-together broke. "No, I'm not." The flood of weariness from unanswered prayers poured out.
From there, my friend reassured me she was praying for me, but it was her challenge that did my heart the most good. Her words enabled me to "go in peace," like Eli told Hannah to do.
Julie encouraged me to pick up my prayer journal. Not so I could pray the prayers again, but to see God's faithfulness in the past.
"Go through and read all the prayers God has answered in your life," Julie said. She assured me that remembering God's goodness would fuel me to keep praying and trusting God for those answers yet to come.
I recognized wise advice, so I took my prayer journal and read of God's faithfulness to me and my family. In fact, I read it out loud. It made a difference in my attitude.
God finally answered Hannah's prayer for a son after many years of prayer. And while I don't want to wait years to see answers to my prayers, Hannah's story inspires me to keep worshiping, praying and looking for His answers.
Do you have a prayer you are weary of praying? Maybe it's time to focus on God's faithfulness in those answered prayers in your past.
Dear Jesus, You are faithful, always. Though I may grow weary in praying for Your will and Your ways to be accomplished in my life, You never grow weary. Though I may not see what You are doing, I know You are working. Today, I rest in the comfort of what You have done in my past and all You will do in my future. In Your Name, Amen.
New at the P31 Online Bookstore: Prayers and Answers Journal.
Join Lynn Cowell on her blog today where she shares how to set up a prayer journal so you can quickly see how God is answering your prayers.
Are you looking for help with your prayer life? Julie Gillies' book Prayers for a Woman's Soul will help you learn to pray for yourself.
Reflect and Respond:
Do you have a way to record answered prayers? If not, consider starting a prayer journal. Start by listing ways God has been faithful to you in the past.
Do you know a friend who is waiting on answers to her prayers and might be growing weary? Call her today to encourage her. Help her see the prayers God has already answered.
Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (NIV)
Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)
© 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 24 April 2014.