My Real Problem with Prayer

Faith is hard. Anyone who dares tell you otherwise is, quite frankly, a liar.

From feeling like God is being silent to having (mostly) stopped reading my Bible, I’ve been in one of the dry seasons. “Difficult” or “challenging” seems too extreme, as though there are certain obstacles I’ve been facing. Those would make it make more sense—if there was some sort of identifiable catalyst for this season—but I haven’t found it. This season just is.

Admittedly, my response has not been what it’s “supposed” to be. Reading the Bible and praying are the steps most Christians would recommend for times of feeling like you’re in a spiritual desert, and those are the two things I have, to some extent or another, set aside for a time.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Grey World, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Flickr User Grey World, Creative Commons

I think my real problem with prayer is that I’ve stopped feeling like it works.

Not that I’ve entirely stopped believing it works, but that I’ve stopped feeling like it works.

For someone like me, who interprets life heavily based on feelings, this has left me looking at prayer a little side-eyed. Somewhat wary, unsure of it.

In my head, I know this not what I’m supposed to base my prayer or any other part of my spiritual life on. Somewhat inherent in the word “faith” is the idea of keeping after it, whether or not the feelings are there.

This kind of faith is not one I have come to know well yet.

I’d be willing to guess that prayer is one of the more difficult parts of Christianity for many people. If it doesn’t feel like it works, it gets hard to keep believing that it actually does work. And when the answer to “Please bring the right significant other into my life” or “Please heal them” or “Please fix this brokenness” keeps being no, the belief can start to flicker.

Mine has. Right now, the belief in prayer is there, but dimmer than it has been at other points in my life.

I don’t know what the path looks like to get back to the place of both believing and feeling like prayer works.

Or perhaps, just belief will be the new normal. And maybe I’ll learn to be okay with that instead.

Til next time…


p.s. How do you handle times when it feels like prayer doesn’t work?


12 thoughts on “My Real Problem with Prayer

  1. Beautifully honest! I’ve had my prayer life shaken up in the last few years as well – and being totally real and exposed about it before God was transforming for me!

  2. I agree with you, faith is hard in ways that can not be explained but experienced. in such moments i hold on to these words by Simon Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In other words i hang in there knowing that there is only one source of life. I talk to him informally as well, like He is right besides me and tell him whats on my mind like i would with a friend. I pray your prayer life is restored.

  3. “Keeping after faith” whether the feelings are there or not is so spot on. Thank God that it is He who rescues us and keeps us. Our emotions are as changing as the wind and precisely why believing with conviction that doesn’t always “feel” is normal. He understands our emotions and lovingly holds us tightly in spite of them. It is our devotion that God requires.

  4. I’ve definitely had moments of crying out to the Lord. Venting screaming in pain crying out. Sometimes there were physical changes in my circumstances in response. Other times silence. I can only say that somehow some way His Spirit helped me endure through those hard times and dry seasons. And in due time I gained understanding that they were just seasons. And all seasons do end. Eventually. Even very long ones…

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