What to Pray During a Setback
By Meg Bucher
“Then he said to me, ‘This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” - Zechariah 4:6 NLT
The garage door slowly rose. I pulled in, put the car in park, and shut the engine off. Sitting, staring, and sobbing … After a string of good days, the past twelve hours felt like square one. I put myself on auto mode, walked into the house, placed my coffee on the counter, and stared at a chair. It seemed to pull me in for a good cry, and I listened. Loud, sad, cries of despair, as I fought to grip the hope of forward progress I had felt in the last few days. Those cries said better than any word count could.
Setbacks are hard. Setbacks snap us out of relief and back into fight or flight. A setback can threaten our thought life to believe the progress was a mirage. Setbacks make it seem like God isn’t listening, isn’t there, or doesn’t care. The verse from Zechariah reminds us of our weaknesses…and God’s strength. Setbacks are hard. But they aren’t permanent. Jesus is in it with us, compassionate towards our pain. For those experiencing a setback today…
Today, we feel stuck …setback …and discouraged. We come to You, perhaps without words at all, to describe our desperate need for You. God, You are faithful, full of mercy and compassionate towards us. When we hurt, we do so alongside a Savior who understands how we feel and is sympathetic to our pain. Oh, God, thank You for the friend we have in Jesus. We are a mess today, Father. Yet, You see us as the beautiful creation You knit inside our mother’s womb, with a specific purpose and unique gifts. The perfect Father, You are there for us in every way. Provider, Healer, and Defender, You love us fiercely. You are jealous for us!
God, though setbacks aren’t pleasant, we know You will pull us through them. Even though this one feels like it might take us out, we put our confidence in You. We choose to sit at Your feet and cry out in desperation, to the only One who perfectly and completely understands our souls and cares for our hearts. Father, repentance is hard. Hurt is hard. Pain which happens to us, and pain that we lump upon ourselves …is hard. Please soften our stubborn hearts as we sit and weep at Your feet, desperate for direction and hurting for encouragement. Help us to hear You, remember who You are, and Whose we are.
Father, place Your word in our hearts and write it on our minds. For Your word is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) You know us, fully. Lift our spirits and restore our hope, God, to see this setback for what it is …temporary. Help us to confidently trust You, and cling to the Hope we have in Christ Jesus. You promised us a difficult journey on earth, but You also promised a full life. Full of joy, peace, contentment, forgiveness, and love. Help us to embrace You as You bring us back to the place of progress. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Cecilie Arcurs
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.
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Originally published Friday, 21 April 2023.