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When Prayer Becomes Difficult

You’re a Christian but maybe you’re not and you’re reading this. It’s okay. It’s for you too.  Prayer is one of the fundamental principles of your faith and of life.  People pray. There are untold sermons, books and more about prayer and how to do it. 

But, what if your praying is just hard. What do you do when prayer becomes difficult? But wait, what if you’re just not praying (at all)?  What if you are on straight burnt-out mode, feel faithless, struggling with disappointment, anger or guilt and more and you’re not praying. What if you feel you don’t even have breath for prayer? What do you do? 

Dear Lord, I am going to tell on myself because that’s what Candidly Christian site is about right? Being candid. 

Well, here I go. If this is you, keep reading. If it’s not you, keep reading because I can assure you, you will be here one day. We all go through dry seasons or faithless seasons of questioning and wondering about prayer and God, answers concerning our faith and more. 

When Prayer Became Difficult…

Praying got hard, really hard for me several months ago and I didn’t even see it coming. I mean bam wham prayerlessness slammed me upside my head took me by surprise. Or at least it seemed that way. One day of not praying turned into weeks of it and then months of not really having a prayer time. No real quiet time with God. Now did I still say some through my lip whispers to God? Yes. But nothing near as focused and heartfelt as I wanted. 

I would lay my head on the pillow – “Lord thank you for today, please don’t kill me in my sleep let me live to fulfill my dream, help my kids, do something Lord with my life, help me I don’t know what is wrong.” Then I was done. A lot of nights it was like that. Then I would wake up in the morning and feel guilty because that was just a sloppy way to pray. I knew better. I’m a minister for the love of all that is good and decent. I told myself how dare you pray sloppy prayers like that. 

I’m supposed to be praying all the time or at least better than that. I know the Word of God. Pray His Word back to Him. 

I couldn’t. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything. 

Related Post: How to Overcome “Prayer-alysis”

Burnout is Real

I was suffering from complete and total burnout of all things spiritual, emotional, and mental. My mind was tired. From what? From life, from years of single mom life, from years of trying to heal from divorce, from loss of friendships in my life, from trying to make a sustainable income, from trying to lose that 10, no 20 lbs (be honest, Stephanie), from menopause symptoms for every day of the week, from lack of sleep, from loneliness, from adult children, from no focus on my writing, to the news and the state of America to the impending rapture any day talk from the masses. Burnt out.

I was tired. I just couldn’t pray, and I didn’t have a good reason. Is that you? Have you been there? I felt I was in trouble, spiritually. This new lazy place was not one I was familiar with, and it felt really, really bad. What was worse, I had to put on my “Christian face” every day because I was Dr. Carter to people. It was unspoken but I couldn’t be free to say I was struggling. Nope. Couldn’t say it without being judged. 

I felt I couldn’t pray for some of the previous and yet none of the previous reasons. But I had guilt over it big time. I knew better or so I thought. But what was wrong with me? Why was it so hard to pray and sit with God. I knew prayer was a two-way conversation so what was the problem? 

If you’re reading this and are thinking “yea that’s me, what do I do?” 

What To Do When Prayer Becomes Difficult

What do you do when you find yourself here, there, and everywhere you shouldn’t be in prayer. Do you talk to that Christian friend to get help. Maybe? Do you seek counsel? Maybe. Do you just not pray and continue your downward spiral? No, I tried that.  Do you binge watch Netflix and Hulu? I tried that too, came up empty there. 

Well, I’ll tell you. Now hold on because the answer is so simple. 

You cry out to God because He hears you no matter what state you are in, and no matter what trouble you are in. God is a God that knows us, intimately. 

God is a God that knows us, intimately.  Click To Tweet

After months of this drought filled behavior, one day in my car I heard a song called Show Me Your Face by Upperroom. I had never heard the song before but one line, one sentence pierced my soul. Here is part of the song… “Show me your face Lord, Show me your face. Then gird up my legs that I might stand in this holy place, show me your face Lord, your power and grace. I will make it to the end if I can just see your face.” 

Note: You can listen to the whole song at the bottom of this post.

Now the part that wrecked me was the last sentence, “I will make it to the end if I can just see your face.” I could barely drive. I had to pull over because my soul and my very existence felt that I just needed to make it. I felt I couldn’t make it in the state I was in. Life had beaten me down so bad in so many areas. Areas I kept secret from people, friends, church leaders, my kids and myself. I felt such crushing brokenness in my heart that wasn’t healed. I had prayed so much about things yet no healing of my heart in full. I felt I couldn’t go on but if I could just see Jesus’ face I would make it to the end. I could keep going if I could get one glimpse of Him.

As the beautiful song played, I could hear and feel God with me filling my car, telling me that it was okay. He sees me, He heard me in my silence. He was not upset with me and let go of the guilt. He said, “Your silence is a prayer.”

Related Post: What to do When You Don’t Know How to Pray

Cry Out to Jesus

So, my advice friend…when praying is hard, and it will be sometimes— cry out to Him.

Cry out to Him even in a short sloppy prayer. He hears you. He is truly a God of your heart. He sees you and He knows you. He will come based on one scripture that I want to leave you with. 

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalms 34:17-18

Grace and Truth

Other crying out verses: 

  • Psalms 120:1
  • Psalms 130:1-2

What Do You Do When Prayer Becomes Difficult?

So what about you? What do you do when prayer becomes difficult? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Like this post?

Check Out Talking with Jesus

If your prayer life isn’t picture perfect and strong enough to rival that of the apostles like Paul and John, this is the book for you. Ladies, It’s Time To Reclaim Our Prayer Life.

9 Comments

  1. Stephanie, I feel this. Thank you so much for getting Candid and sharing your struggle. It’s so good to know we don’t struggle alone!

  2. I was a prayer warrior for more than a decade. The world went away and all that mattered was that communication, which was sometimes done in solitude but more often with a group or individuals/families who sought healing prayer. Then my life began to change in some dramatic ways and the path was no longer clear. About 12 years ago, I began an episode of major depression and severe anxiety. I haven’t been in remission since then. Life got smaller and smaller. I’m beginning now to feel God’s presence more, especially in the sense that there is a season for everything and it is okay. I do what I can, what I feel nudged to lift to God — and most often the extent of the conversation. I notice something that needs God and I lift it to God because that’s all I can do right now. I believe takes that meager prayer and I entrust it to God’s care.

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