Carrie was frustrated. Anger played at the edge of her heart. Why didn’t God answer her? Why didn’t he rescue her in her situation as she begged him to?
She began to pray less. One day, she realized she had nearly stopped praying altogether. She realized she had quit expecting anything from God. Her trust in his goodness had melted away in the heat of her struggle and God’s silence.
Countless Christians have seen their prayers erode to a trickle of empty words of habitual or panic button prayers. Some lose faith when life’s hard circumstances make no sense and God fails to intervene as they think he should. Others simply get too busy to bother. Many experience feeling let down and disappointed by the church or other Christians and paint God with the same brush.
It’s easy to begin depending on our own best thinking when we cease expecting God to answer our prayers. Trusting God when our path in life grows muddy is not an easy task. The mud of weariness, busyness, and hurt can cause us to trip and even fall. We wonder how we will ever get up again. Faith can feel like a thread that threatens to break.
Trusting God with our life, even when it makes no sense to us is to choose to grab hold of the pearl of wisdom. As Christians, we know that prayer is our vital connection to our God, yet we can let it slip away from fingers muddy from falling. We must be deliberate in choosing to cling to it. There is great wisdom and reward in depending on our God even in the silence.
Maintaining that vital connection to God in prayer is a choice. Step by step, through the fog on our path, we can choose to trust that God has our best interest at heart and lean on his strength to get us through our day; or, we can choose to shrug him off with little expectation and lean wearily on our own understanding.
When we live with prayer on the fringe, we are really telling God that we don’t trust him. Often, with our lips we declare trust but with our lives we show that we really don’t believe he will see us through.
Ask yourself the hard questions:
- _Do I really trust God to have my best interest at heart?
- Do I really believe he will strengthen me today to walk where I need to walk … even in the dark and the silence?_
If you’ve let prayer end up on the fringes of your life, take these steps of TRUST to make prayer central once again.
T— Thanks Thank God for the things he has done in your past. Go back as far as you need to (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
R— Repent Say you are sorry to God for intentionally allowing things in your heart and your life that disappoint him (Psalm 66:18-19).
U— Unify Unify broken relationships. Whether you have offended someone or have been offended, God tells you to seek restoration. If restoration isn’t possible, give God the broken pieces and ask him to uproot any resentment out of your heart. Bringing peace to fractured relationships brings blessing (Matthew 5:9).
S— Share Share the journey. When times are tough and trust wears thin, find a friend to pray with you and for you. Open up about your struggles (James 5:16).
T— Take time Take time with God. If your heart is dry, set aside some time to listen to praise music and use the words of the songs as prayers from your heart. Till up the ground that has become hard from the worries of life (Psalm 91.1-2).