You know you ought to pray. You know that God invites and even commands you to pray. He loves to hear from you, loves to know you. Yet there are times when your soul feels bone dry, when even opening your mouth to pray seems an impossibility. What do you do?
Perhaps the hardest thing to do in those times is to even make the effort to pray. Just pray. It is always the right thing to do. Pray short if you need to. Tell God you are struggling to pray. But somehow just pray.
- And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:17-19)
Pray the Gospel
Try some of these passages, all of which Jerry Bridges recommended as keys to his prayer life. As you pray them, confess who you are and remind yourself what God has done in Christ for you. Kindle even a small flame in your soul with the warmth of the Good News.
- As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
- “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
- Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. (Romans 4:7-8)
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
- There are many others, including Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 38:17; Micah 7:19; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 8:12; and 10:17-18.
Boldness can be hard to come by in times of spiritual dullness or crisis, but boldness is the Christian’s birthright. Pray boldly, confident that Christ has opened the way to the Father and all of his blessings.
- Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Pray boldly but also pray confidently, relying not on your own words or wisdom, but on the Spirit’s intercession.
- In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
Pray for Wisdom
Pray acknowledging your lack of wisdom not only to face your situation but even to know how to pray about it. Pray for wisdom because, as God says:
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
Pray to Believe and Accept God’s Promises
The promises of God are good and sweet and comforting if only you will believe and accept them. Pray that God will help you to!
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Pray for Peace
God is the giver of the truest, deepest soul peace. Pray that he will grant his peace to your soul.
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Pray for Faith to Know that God Is With You
Finally, pray for the faith to believe that God does not leave or forsake the ones bought with his Son’s blood. He is always near, always with you.
- Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)