To the prayer weary

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Several weeks ago when I spoke to a group of local women, there was a Q&A afterwards. One of the questions in particular has stayed in my mind ever since, and I want to expand on it here.

A woman raised her hand that night and asked me this, “How do you know when it’s okay to stop praying about something?”

She was asking about this because as I shared about our prodigal son’s journey, I told them how God had called me out one day. After years of frantic prayers, often the same ones over and over, he stopped me in my tracks (I can remember where I was), and he said this: “Stop praying. I’ve heard every prayer you’ve ever prayed. I haven’t dropped one of them. I have them all in golden bowls. It’s time to start thanking me for what I AM doing.”

Then along came a friend with a golden nugget of wisdom that I never forgot, and he said it this way. “Sometimes much prayer isn’t a sign of great faith. It’s a sign of great doubt.”

A military-grade spotlight went on, and I thought to myself, “How does it work with my sons? Do they have to beg and grovel and plead over and over to have their needs met?”

Instantly, the answer came. “Oh, my goodness, no!” Everything in me was bent, always, to their good and for their help, and I knew in that moment that if my heart was in that kind of a place, so was God’s, only vastly more.

I decided it was time to stop treating God like he was deaf and dumb or, even worse, cruel. That was a pivotal moment in my prayer life, and I’m reaping the dividends today.

But back to the listener’s question. This is what I said. “How tired are you?”

If you leave your time of prayer just as exhausted and distressed as when you began, then you may be praying from doubt and not faith. When you pray from a place of faith, albeit the size of a mustard seed, you will feel peace, and you will rest.

So. To all who are weary as I was on that day, it might be time to stop praying, to start thanking. To treat God as though he’s not deaf or dumb or mean.

For oftentimes, it’s the greater faith that rests.


America’s small, caffeinated mom who prays less and rests far more

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