When Prayer Hurts
By Cate Russell-Cole
As prayer meets the challenges of life, it can sometimes become
devastating and heart breaking. Praying for others brings us up
against the obstacles that seem insurmountable in other's lives,
spiritual, emotional and physical, with the added challenge of
spiritual warfare included, and it isn't easy. There have been
many times when I have felt like I have been forcefully hurled
into the nearest brick wall, and every intercessor knows the
familiar feeling of discouragement when you have worked so hard,
believed God's Word to your best ability, and still the answers
seem to always side step you, no matter what you do.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Version) "I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me - I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me [that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency.]" I have heard this verse quoted many, many times, so often that I don't even stop to think about what this really means when I hear it. Jesus spoke of "abiding" in God, and He in us. We take it for granted that God is 'on tap' twenty-four hours a day, and if we speak in tongues, get used to this too. How little we see of how much God is working in us through His Holy Spirit. How little we see of His daily efforts to build us up, make us stronger, carry us through and guide our direction.
Our success in prayer is not as the world sees success, even though we unconsciously measure ourselves by the same standards. We think success is reaching the goal every time, and that goal has to be exactly how we perceived it! We want to be recognised for our contribution, we want to be the ones there to see the look of joy on the face of the person we prayed for when they are encouraged and strengthened, when their heart's desire reaches them. Don't we feel so robbed and cheated if this doesn't happen? But it doesn't belong to us, it belongs to God, and we are just servants. We have to let go. Being a servant of the Most High God is hard work. It takes a lot of effort, and often we see very little reward - but remember that is only now. As frustrating as it is, our reward is in heaven.
Luke 9:62 reminds us, "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Keep going forwards, hold onto your vision and keep praying with faith in the Father. He will never leave us with so little comfort and encouragement that we cannot go on, keep going, and keep looking ahead.