Have you been enduring a painful season that just won’t end? Are you exhausted from it all? Have been crying out to God who doesn’t appear to be listening and won’t put an end to your suffering?
You, my friend, are not alone.
When you’re learning how to pray (especially for beginners), deciding what to say or asking God for help can seem discouraging.
Living in this broken world is extremely difficult. Enduring storm after storm, emergency after emergency that won’t stop beating you down.
You’ve been clawing your way to the top of a rocky mountain and with every step you take, instead of getting you closer to that peak, the mountain continues to grow taller and becomes more treacherous with every painstaking step.
You no longer have the words because you feel defeated and you’re certain that this is what the rest of your life will look like.
Does that sound about right?
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I thought my suffering was over
I feel your pain today, my friend!
A number of years ago, out of nowhere, I was hit with chronic migraines. I was getting them anywhere from three to five times a week, in and out of emergency rooms with hospital stays and a multitude of migraine cocktails coursing through my veins.
I was in severe pain and the vertigo was so intense that I could barely walk.
It was hard!
But I found a doctor who was able to think outside the box. I had a hysterectomy, and I finally got my life back.
Or so I thought…
Fast forward a couple years and my migraines came back with a vengeance.
On top of that, I was growing more and more tired by the day. I couldn’t walk from one room of my house to the other without feeling completely drained and out of breath. Every step had my head spinning so fast that I was sure the walls were closing in around me.
I thought having the migraines alone were excruciating to live with. Well, I’m here to tell you they were nothing compared to this new misery I was living in.
I couldn’t get out of bed for days on end. Most days I had to choose between a shower or going to my desk to do a little writing because there was certainly no way for me to do both. In fact, there were many days that I worked from my bed in between very long naps.
I was exhausted and I was angry!
I was completely and utterly ticked off that God would allow me to go through yet one more illness considering I had already been through so much.
I thought that I had come to the end of my suffering when the migraines were managed, but that wasn’t the plan for me.
Instead, it was more pain and far more suffering than I’ve ever had in my life.
There’s a reason for your suffering
Here’s the thing, my friend. God never promised that there would be no suffering. In fact, John 16:33 tells us,
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” NLT
You live in a broken, fallen world so there’s absolutely no way around it. In fact, it’s in the midst of these challenges where God molds and refines you into the person he created you to be.
Just like a potter, God lovingly and patiently molds His beautiful creation into a strong masterpiece.
In his post, The Potter and the Clay, Daniel Lehigh explains that
With infinite care, the potter kneads and molds the clay. He searches out and removes any little twig, stone or impurity.
The vessel would dissolve if water were put into it before the firing.
The vessel that was soft and easily marred becomes hard and durable. The fire that burned it caused it to become a useful vessel.
As you are kneaded and molded, removed of any impurities and held to the fire with what seems like something too painful to endure, it is then that you are sculpted into the person that God will use for His big and masterful plan.
Because right now, at this very moment in time, you are not ready for what He has in store for you.
So, my friend, it’s time to embrace your suffering for what it truly is. An opportunity to:
- Learn that you’re a lot stronger than you ever thought possible.
- Grow into a person who is far more capable than you could’ve ever imagined.
- Let God use you for His glorious and magnificent purpose.
You aren’t alone in your suffering
God did not create you to go through this pain on your own. Jesus is sitting right on that valley floor with you. He is thwarting off most of what this life tries to throw at you.
And what he does let in, is because, with Him by your side, it’s something you can handle. Your challenges are something that He will always take on with you.
So in your prayers, thank Him for never leaving you, for being right beside you, and for not making you go through this on your own.
If Jesus can go through that unimaginable pain on that cross, then by golly, your suffering is definitely nothing that He can’t handle.
It’s not about you
Here’s a hard fact, my friend. It’s not about you!
I know that can be a tough one to swallow, especially when you’re suffering and in pain, but everything that’s going on in your life is part of a much bigger plan. Something that’s entirely too big for you to understand.
Though your suffering has been long and feels like it will never end, it is merely a blip in time. A very small portion of God’s bigger plan. And that’s why he tells you not to worry. He has a very important reason to allow this suffering in your life.
Now that you know why God allows your suffering, and that it’s not about you, you can go to Him more easily and ask Him to open your heart to what it is he is trying to teach you.
Ask Him to change your perspective. Tell Him that you understand He is preparing you for something bigger and that you’re ready to learn.
And honestly, if at this moment you are still too angry, don’t try to hide it from Him. Tell God that! He can take it!
Ask Him to change your heart so that you are ready to wait patiently and be better prepared for the next season in your life.
Your prayers don’t have to be rehearsed
A lot of people get hung up on how to pray. They think that it has to be done in a certain way, properly scripted, and offered to God in a particularly pleasing way.
But this isn’t what God expects at all. He simply wants you to invite Him into your life. To ask Him to help you through it. (And boy oh boy, when you let Him handle the difficulties in your life, and stop trying to control everything, life is so much simpler!)
Romans 8:25-26 teaches us that when we wait patiently with endurance, we don’t need to have all the answers.
But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure. So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. AMPC
How incredibly freeing is that?!
You don’t need to know what to pray because The Spirit will intercede on your behalf. And if The Spirit can go to God with deep groanings, then you certainly don’t need to have a rehearsed, meticulously thought out prayer.
You can simply thank The Spirit for interceding on your behalf, and rest in knowing that He’s got you!
Whatever, and however, you go to Him, is already perfect. All God wants is for you to ask Him to come into your life. To invite Him to go through this life suffering with you.
Prayers in times of suffering
I understand that sometimes you are so gridlocked in your situation and can’t think of how to pray when you don’t know what to say, so I’ve put together some sample prayers to help you when you are suffering so much that you can’t find the words.
“Lord, I don’t understand why my suffering has gone on so long, but I know and trust that you have a much bigger plan. Something I can’t even begin to understand. I don’t need to know or understand the big picture, I merely need the next step in your perfect plan. Please guide me in your perfect timing.”
“Lord, I’m broken, I’m tired, and I can’t fight this on my own. I ask for your grace, for you to carry me when I can’t go another step. I ask for rest in your loving arms and I trust that you will bring me through it in your perfect timing.”
“Lord, thank you for never leaving me to suffering alone. Thank you for taking care of that which I can not handle, and for teaching me in this very difficult season. Open my heart to what it is you want me to learn and help me to patiently endure this season of suffering, so that I may glorify you.”
“Lord, I know you are teaching me right now. I know you are molding me into the person you created me to be. I ask that through this suffering, I endure it like Jesus. I ask that you help me to be invisible, so that you may be visible through me. I want to let your light shine in this suffering so that others may see you…so that at the end of the day, no matter how difficult it is, I point them to you.”
Put it into practice
Did you know that when you write something down, you are more likely to remember it?
So today, I encourage you to download our FREE blank prayer and scripture cards to write out the prayers that I’ve given you, and any scripture that you find resonates most for you.
This accomplishes two things.
- As mentioned above, it helps you to memorize scripture, and you’re better able to arm yourself with His truths and promises when you are suffering.
- You can have it close by so that any time you are going through the day and another difficult situation pops up or you find yourself exhausted in your suffering, you can pull out your prayer and scripture cards and start praying right where you are.
I don’t know why we are suffering so much right now, but I do know this valley will not destroy us. We may need to take some time to rest, breathe Him in, and open ourselves to what it is He is teaching us in this moment.
I do know, however, that God will use our suffering, just like he did with Jesus, to bring others to him.
And if Jesus can endure that unimaginable suffering for us, then we can most definitely endure our suffering for others.
Would you agree?
Don’t forget to download our FREE blank prayer and scripture cards. They are located in our community library. Simply subscribe to our newsletter below and get instant access to them as well as all of our FREE resources.
Thanks for joining me on the blog today.
My prayer for you is that you can learn to embrace your suffering for what it truly is. An opportunity to grow closer to God, to find rest in His loving arms, and to point others to Him.
Go and be a blessing to others today, my friend!
Until next time…
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Learning how to put our complete trust in God isn’t easy. We say we trust God, but what we really mean is that we trust Him for what we want, when we want it. At Footprints of Inspiration we uncover who you are and why you were created; how to walk in healing through forgiveness; and how to go before the Lord with confidence. Through this journey, you’ll discover that it truly is possible to experience peace, even in the hardest times in your life.
Tammy Rotzoll is the founder and owner of Footprints of Inspiration and podcast host at A Faithful God Podcast (which can be found on your favorite podcast player). She lives in Virginia with her husband and together they’re learning how to navigate their fun, new adventure as empty nesters.
Join Tammy and the FOI community and discover the freedom that comes from saying, “Heck yeah, God! I’m all in!”
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