Tears filled my eyes as I knelt on the floor in my office, heavy-hearted with frustration and a sense of failure. I had been earnestly praying for something for years, but nothing seemed to have changed. What’s the point, I thought. It seemed hopeless and I wondered if I was not praying right, frequent enough, long enough, or with the right words. Were there things I should be doing, trying that I wasn’t? My life seemed fruitless and a disappointment to God.

Then I read this:

Jesus had days in His own life that seemed fruitless.

J. R. Miller, Come Ye Apart.

What were these days, these times, I wondered? Searching my Bible, I found the following challenges Jesus had in His ministry.

The people He grew up around for thirty years, did not believe in Him and tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff (Luke 4:16 – 29 NIV).

Jesus performed countless miracles, yet people still doubted who He was.

His own family thought He had lost his mind.

Truth, after truth, was told in parables they could understand, yet many rejected His words.

A whole region begged Him to leave them (Matthew 8:34).

His apostles deserted Him in His hour of greatest need (Mark 14:50).

Christ got crucified, and as He hung on that cross dying, He cried out to His Father but, was rejected (Matthew 27:46).

However, through all this, Jesus went off by himself frequently, I believe daily, and spent hours in prayer (Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:18 and 11:1).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Him going off by Himself three times to earnestly pray until He sweats drops of blood, begging for another way (Luke 22:39-44).

Prayer feels like a burden, at times, to me. What about you?

I sigh and drag my feet like it is a dreaded duty, words seem to fail me and my mind swirls with other things that need doing or what is going on in my life. Sometimes I start but, my mind wanders down rabbit holes far from the Lord. Although sometimes it is a struggle, I am always encouraged when I persist by being in His Word and presence.

However, even when I persevere, there are times like I mentioned above. Days when my soul is weighed down, worn out, frustrated, defeated and hopelessness seeps in.

But God does not desert us. Even when we do not feel Him there and our faith wavers, He is faithful. The Lord grants us glimmers of His work behind the scenes in situations and lives that we do not and cannot, see in day-to-day life.

-an opening to pray with someone who used to be closed to it.

-opportunity to talk with a friend about faith.

-someone we have been praying for being surrounded by believers in their life.

-a much-needed medical appointment bumped up.

-the unwelcome diagnosis, allowing you an opportunity to pray for and encourage others.

How gracious and loving He is to build our faith that way. The Lord commanded us to pray and not give up (Luke 18:1) and even gave us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:5-13.

Paul exhorted us to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17(NKJV).

I love this story, in Mrs. Charles Cowman’s devotional, Streams in the Desert, where a group of ministers met to discuss 1 Thess. 5:17, and its application in life. One of the ministers was appointed a month to write an essay on it, and the servant girl nearby was astonished it would take that long.

“It is one of the easiest and best texts in the Bible,” she told the minister. On hearing this the minister replied, “What can you say about it? Let us know how you understand it. Can you pray all the time?”

“Oh, yes, sir.”

“What, when you have so many things to do?”

“Why, sir, the more I have to do the more I can pray.”

“Indeed, well Mary. Do let us know how it is. Most of us think otherwise.”

“Well, sir,” said the girl, “When I first open my eyes in the morning I pray, Lord open the eyes of my understanding, and while I am dressing I pray that I may be clothed with the robe of righteousness; when I wash I ask for the washing of regeneration; as I work I pray that I may have strength equal to my day; when I begin to kindle the fire I pray that God’s work may revive my soul; as I sweep out the house I pray that my heart may be cleansed from all its impurities; while preparing and partaking of breakfast I pray to be fed with the hidden manna and sincere milk of the Word; as I am busy with the little children I look up to God as my Father and pray for the spirit of adoption, that I may be His obedient child – and so on all day. Everything I do furnishes me with a thought for prayer.”

 Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy, a burden or weighty. It should be like talking to your best friend or a loving Father, the one place we can be ourselves and let down the mask and walls we put up during the day to protect our hearts.  The Lord knows us, through and through, and still longs for us to come confidently and pour our souls out to Him with grateful hearts.

Dear friends, let us not give up hope in praying for one another, those we love and the world we live in. The Lord is at work behind-the-scenes, like the set dresser, the prop manager, the make-up artist and the Director. We only see the drama acted out scene by scene. But like in a good story, our Director will allow us glimmers of what is going on behind the curtains and encourage us to keep on.

Be well!


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