When Prayer is Hard: Pain, Peace and the Groaning Heart

Pray without ceasing. (1)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

You know you are supposed to pray, but you just can’t. Not now.

You want to ask Him for safety and protection for your loved ones but you hesitate, knowing, from past experience, the answer to that prayer might not be what you expect.

Maybe it has been a long time since you have spoken to the Lord at all.

What do you say to God when you cannot find words to express your sorrow, your fears, your anger, disappointment, regret? You hurt, but there is no way to express it other than weeping, immersing yourself in the pain, and feeling the whole weight of it down into your soul. As it is often said, there are no words.

Even to day is my complaint bitter:
my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Job 23:2

When you don’t know what to say to God, remember that you need not say anything. He hears and understands your groaning and every tear is a prayer in itself.

I am weary with my groaning;
all the night make I my bed to swim;
I water my couch with my tears. Psalm 6:6

If you are still very early in your grief, it may be that crying out to Him in your pain may be all you can do for a while. And that’s OK. He knows what is in your heart and pouring it all out to Him IS prayer.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26

The peace God offers us when we pray, does not necessarily mean an absence of pain. It is more of a resting in the sorrow while trusting God for the answers to questions that would otherwise torment us.

Peace means ceasing from striving against what God has allowed in our lives and in the lives of our children. It is giving over what we want and receiving what God has willed. It is letting go of what could have been and accepting what is.

In the beginning of loss, everything in us fights against this. And so we suffer. This is normal. Give yourself time. God is faithful. Don’t fight Him. Peace will come.

Prayer is our connection to the God of peace and hope. When you can’t find the words, just get alone before Him and hurt. Give to Him all you are feeling. Confess whatever lurks in your heart that is unholy. Praise His name even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you don’t have an ounce of honest thankfulness to offer Him, just say it: “God is good.” Say it because it is true.

Don’t cut yourself off from your best Friend. He loves you and is waiting to hear you.

He alone can make life a joy again.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:4-8

Read more about prayer:


11 thoughts on “When Prayer is Hard: Pain, Peace and the Groaning Heart

  1. Pingback: What Can I Do? – You Can Trust Him.

  2. Pingback: According to His Will – You Can Trust Him.

  3. Pingback: Desires of a Mother’s Heart – You Can Trust Him.

  4. Shay Clark

    My faith gives me comfort bc I know my child is in Heaven. If I wasn’t certain of that fact I do not feel I could handle the loss. My tears are for me. For the loss I feel. I love and miss her so much. My prayers are for my heart to heal. I also believe that God understands my grief. Once I give it to him I only had to let go of it and trust that he will help me through it in his time. I don’t have to keep praying the same prayer. Learning to give it to him and not taking it back bc he isn’t fixing it fast enough for me. I think it may help someone.

    Liked by 1 person

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