Praying When Your Faith Feels Small

My heart felt as if it had been wrapped in a lead vest--the kind you wear when getting an X-ray on your left ankle so the radiation won't spread to your mid-section. The kind that smashes your shoulders with its heaviness and makes you feel clumsy and slow.

The kind you can't wait for the technician to lift off.

Only this was no emergency X-ray. This was just a rough week. Ugly words, disappointing circumstances, careless attitudes cascaded into my heart like heavy gray snowflakes, leaving ugly drifts of hurt.

If you've ever felt buried beneath an avalanche of painful circumstances, I understand. I know how overwhelming--even ridiculous--it can feel to pray when your faith feels entirely too small.

But the good news is God is greater than our sometimes shrinky-dink faith. And though I can't promise that tomorrow everything will be better, I can tell you that God will be with you through your situation, and He will hear you as you make the effort to pray what feels like feeble prayers.

Here are four things that have helped me make it through some dark times. My hope is they will equip you to pray, even when your faith feels small:

Ask God for His perspective. We see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). In other words, our vantage point isn't always accurate. God not only sees the entire picture, He can enable us to perceive His viewpoint. I'm always amazed when the airplane I'm on soars above thick storm clouds into spectacularly clear, blue skies. That's sort of like what God can do. Yes, it's still raining down below, but the sun is still shining--and we can see the storm won't last long.

Put on a garment of praise. In my darkest, most unlikely moments, I've experienced a breakthrough of joy because I chose to worship. (See the post A Battle for Peace ) If the joy of the Lord is our strength, then we need to make the decision to worship, even when it's hard.

Believe that when we are weak He is strong. I'm so glad God doesn't only love me or move in my life when I feel capable or think I'm doing well. Because the truth is, I often don't feel either. And He doesn't expect that from me. Or from you. In fact, He tells us, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) That means that even when our prayers feel weak and ineffective, they are still powerful!

Know that this, too, shall pass. The truth is, we all walk through seasons of difficulty. No, they're not fun. But we learn and we can grow closer to the Lord (if we choose). And eventually, the hard season ends. Remember, to everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Most importantly, remember that whatever season we're in, we never walk alone. Jesus said, "I am with you always (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion). (Matthew 28:20)

How about you? Does your faith sometimes feel too small? Have you felt overwhelmed by an avalanche of circumstances lately?


Anonymous said...

Oh, yes! I've been struggling under an avalanche of circumstances for the last couple of years. This post was just what I needed to read this morning. Thanks, Julie!


achildoftheking said...

Absolutely! The adversary takes advantage of weaknesses and runs with them. This is a great reminder to have faith in and trust GOD all the more! Amen!

Karen said...

Julie, I think we all have times. The scripture shows many examples. I love your "shrinky dink faith" word. That explains it to a tee. Prayers that your week is better and God strengthens and comforts you.

Susan said...

"Shrinky Dink Faith" - love that, Julie. YES, it's a knee-jerk reaction for me, one that I'm trying to subdue. Love your suggestion to put on a garment of praise. That one act is more powerful than people realize. It really works!

Lifting you up this week and asking the Lord to be your portion and strength. Press on, sweet friend.

Ginny said...

Oh yes, Julie, broken pipes, leaks, things that will cost money to fix. Evil has a way of winding into my life to fill me with discouragement and fear. "Shrinky dink faith" about sums it up. Circumstances are hitting us from every direction. I want to fall on my knees and cry. But, the good news is, I did not do that. I took your advice and praised God instead for His unfailing love and protection over our "circumstances."
Thank you, Julie for your wonderful words.

Wanda said...

Julie, I so appreciate the fresh insight you bring reminding me to ask, praise, believe, and know....all things I should already know to do but somehow forget when I am only focused on my circumstances rather than the One who can see me through them. Thank you for the gentle reminder of what I need to do...God Bless....

Hester's Heart said...

Great post Julie! And, applicable word picture. I totally relate sister. Love your insight too - all four components are vital. One that God has really been helping me with (well, two) are the first two you listed. Exercising these more intentionally has really helped my faith to grow. :)

God bless you dear,
Hester, ;)

Anonymous said...

Just what I need today, and especially "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9). Thank you for sharing.

Alison :)

Carol said...

Encouraging words & a great reminder! Carol

Susan said...

Really going through a tough time this week. Lots of anger and resentment. I feel helpless. Thanks so much for your encouragement. I needed to read this.

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