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I’d had a really hard week. I had been praying and believing, along with friends, that God was going to do something great for my family. On that particular day, God did not answer those prayers and I felt defeated. I was discouraged and disappointed and I didn’t know where to go.
I called a friend and she lovingly gave me some encouraging words. She asked me if I had prayed and fasted simply because I was trying to get God to do what I wanted Him to do. That was something I hadn’t considered. The answer to her question was one that was hard for me to admit because the truth was that my heart wasn’t in the right place. I had expected that God would do what I asked Him to do simply because I had done what I thought He wanted me to.
It never occurred to me that God might have other (better) plans.
4 Things to Remember When You Pray during Trials
When we go through difficult times it can be really hard to remember that we need to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our will to be done. Sometimes God will be silent for a season and it’s not because we did anything wrong, it’s simply because He is God and He knows best.
So how should we pray when we’re going through a hard time? Here are four lessons I’ve learned and I want to share with you:
- First, we should pray in private: Scripture tells us that we should go to our secret place and make our petitions known before the Lord. For some people that’s going to be a prayer closet. It might be your bathroom floor. For me it’s a corner in my room where I sit on the floor and pour my heart out into my journal.
- Second, we should talk to God like He is a friend, not a stranger: Prayer is a way to invest in our relationship with God. It’s a way we can be more intimate with Him and because of that we need to learn to pray like we are talking to somebody who knows us and loves us and only wants the best for us. Don’t go to God like He is a stranger. Go to Him knowing that He loves you, knows what’s best for you and will be with you no matter what.
- Third, be persistent: There is a scripture in the New Testament that talks about a woman who constantly nagged and nagged a government official until he gave her what she was asking for. We have to learn to pray in that same way. We cannot simply pray once and if we don’t get our answer give up. We must persevere. We must continue to bring our petitions and our thanks before the Lord until we get an answer.
- Finally, surrender: This is the hardest part for me. We have to learn that when we pray, often God does not answer right when we want Him to or in the way we want Him to. Sometimes He says no, not yet, or He is silent. Ultimately we have to learn to surrender to His will because He is in control.
The Bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love God. It also says that God has plans for us. These plans are not to harm us but to prosper us. These things can be hard to remember when we’re going through a trial but this is why we must surrender to God’s will. He truly does know best even when it’s painful for us. We have to trust that it’s for our own good and for His glory.