Prayer pt 3
How to pray when God is silent
If you had a chance to share with people what your relationship with God looks like, what would you say? In high school, I was asked to do this up on stage one Sunday morning at our church. I figured I would just be honest with everyone. I got up on stage and without making much eye contact, I shared how God and I used to be close. In the past, I could hear him talking to me when I prayed and I could feel him in my life, but not anymore. God had been silent for what felt like two or more years. So, I went up on stage and told them, “Look, I’m trying as hard as I can to get close again to God. I am reading my Bible, praying, going to church and I just don’t feel like he is here. Things in my life do not seem to be changing and prayer doesn’t seem to matter.” Honest truth. The following week, I was surprised as I started getting notes from people all throughout our church. They all said the same thing. They had been in my situation and there was hope.
It’s not uncommon for Christians to feel this way, even really faithful Christians seeking the Lord every day. Which means this is an important issue to address. Why does God allow us to feel this way? Where is he? And what can I do to get through this season? I’d like to give you guys a few tips on how to survive the season and where I have found God in the midst of the silence.
First off, we need to address the myth that God is silent because we are not doing enough. We do not have to earn his love. Regardless of whether or not you have believed in Christ your whole life or you want nothing to do with him, the Bible says that he is fighting for us and chasing us down. It doesn’t always feel that way though does it? It’s easy to think God is ignoring us when we have been praying for him to show up in our lives for some time and we see no results. Personally, I get so mad at God, but here is what I have learned. God loves us way too much to not want to give us the best life available to us. Our dreams and promotions are not going to be sustainable in our lives without character development. None of our time in the silence is wasted.
If you look in the Bible, you will struggle to find someone that was used by God without first going through a time of struggle, silence or questioning God’s goodness. Don’t waste this time of silence or feel discouraged thinking that God doesn’t care. Silence actually means the opposite. When God is silent, feel encouraged that God loves you enough and that God has such a big plan for your life. Recognize that he is giving you time to work on your character in the silence. In my experience, seasons of silence are always followed by seasons of extreme blessing. Maybe someday I will get to share some of the miraculous things that occurred after my seasons of silence. Today, I want to focus on some tips to get you through those “quiet” seasons.
1. Always remember in the dark seasons what God has spoken to you in the good seasons. When God feels distant and life seems impossible, Satan spreads his lies with great effectiveness. Hold tight to what you know to be true even if your heart does not feel it. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful (Jer 17:9). Trust in truth not your heart.
2. Remind yourself of truth (Phil. 4:8). Read your Bible. Memorize scriptures. Listen to worship music. Listen to sermons online. The more you speak the truth into your life, the firmer you will stand until the silence breaks.
3. When you no longer have the strength to pray because you are discouraged, remember that the Bible promises that in those moments, the Holy Spirit steps in on our behalf and prays for us to the Father (Rom. 8:26-27). Jesus was here too. He felt the same way we so at times and He has compassion for us. When we are weak, He steps up and fights for us. Hold onto that truth.
4. Surround yourself with people who will speak truth to you (Prov. 19:20-21). The best thing you can do for yourself is to surround yourself with Christians who know what the silence is like and yet know how to trust God through it until the season of blessing. They will give you strength.
This process is hard. This process may not always feel worth it while you are in it. When the silence breaks, I promise it is worth it. If you can hold strong in the silence, God will use you in incredible ways. So hold on.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
Photo by Timothy Barlin (@timbar) on Unsplash
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