Have you ever had a time in your life when it seemed that none of your prayers were being answered? Has there been a season when you simply could not feel God’s presence?
I know I have experienced times when it seemed as if my prayers would hit the ceiling of the room, only to bounce back and smack me in the head. I wanted to pray, but it just seemed to be so futile.
I remember one particular instance like that. I was in what seemed to me to be a deep spiritual hole. I could not see the light of day. I was lonely and discouraged. I simply had nowhere to turn.
I finally poured out my heart to a trusted friend. What a blessing it is to have a trusted friend. I emptied my soul to him, telling how much I hurt. And then I said it. I would not have said this to just anyone. But I told him, “I don’t even want to pray anymore. I just don’t feel like praying.”
Some may gasp in horror that a pastor would admit that. Some find it hard to believe that a pastor would feel that way. My trusted friend did not bat an eyelash. He actually nodded his head as if to say that he understood.
And then he said those words that I continue to remember and cling to even to this day. He said, “When you don’t feel like praying, pray anyway.”
Think about that: “When you don’t feel like praying, pray anyway.” That’s good, practical, sensible advice.
It can be applied in other situations, too. When you don’t feel like getting up and feeding the baby at 2 a.m., do it anyway. When you don’t want to go to work, go anyway. When you aren’t excited about going to church, go anyway.
I learned something from my friend, because I did follow his advice. I kept praying. There were those times when it did not seem to make a difference. But I kept praying. And eventually I could see that God indeed was answering my prayers. I could see he never had left me. I could see he had been there all along.
I don’t know what you are going through at this time, but I want to encourage you to keep praying. Keep worshiping with your church family. Keep trusting the Lord. No matter how discouraging things might become, don’t give up hope. He is there. He does care. And he will hear your prayer.