Sometimes things fall apart. You lose your footing. The pressures of life consumes. You need the power of prayer for strength during difficult times.
I’ve seen my fair share of difficult days. I’ve experienced failed businesses, ruined friendships, sabotaged opportunities, oh and there’s also the long term yet failed marriage I have under my belt.
Divorcing in the middle of a pandemic has a special way of humbling you. One minute you’re coasting slow and steady on a marriage journey with a built in partner. You feel hopeful. Your dream is being fulfilled. It’s challenging but comfortable.
Next thing you know you’re racing full speed in the opposite direction. You’re barely able to stand from the whiplash of switching directions so abruptly. You feel utterly helpless. Your dream has vanished. You feel so alone. Oh how you long to be comforted. To feel normal.
This devastatingly difficult time has made me all too familiar with the power of prayer as a way to gain strength when it seems like all is lost. Without prayer I know I could not have made it through the hardest season of life, ultimately making the best decisions for my mental health, my children’s future, and my peace.
Prayer is a powerful tool.
It doesn’t matter if you’re having a difficult time because of divorce, grief, financial loss, infertility, or disease. Difficult times can make you feel like you’re stuck in a dark, lonely pit, unable to move or even see your way out.
Getting out of that pit requires something bigger than you. Bigger than your problem. Bigger than what you can see. It requires a supernatural strength that only comes through the power of prayer.
How do you pray for strength during difficult times?
If there was ever a time when God wanted you to drop your guards and come to him just as you are, asking for what you need, my friend it is now.
God doesn’t require your eloquent words. God doesn’t need you to wash your face or wipe your tears. No need to have it all figured out. Even weak prayers move the heart of God.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:7 NLT
The power of prayer isn’t in the specific way you pray, the power is in the action of prayer itself. Prayer might be the furthest thing from your mind when past due notices overflow your mailbox and pain ravishes through your body, but that’s when prayer is most needed.
Even still, there are a few helpful ways to pray for strength during difficult times that I do want to highlight:
- Be honest (John 4:24): God knows your heart already, there is no need to impress him or to put on a front. Be honest. Be raw. Be real about your thoughts and feelings. God can handle your anger, confusion and pain. Ask him for exactly what you need. If you don’t know what you need, ask him, he knows.
- Pray the scriptures (Hebrews 4:12): The best prayer tool for you are the Holy Scriptures. The word of God is alive. It heals. It saves. It redeems. Use the words of God and pray over your situation. Pray the promises of God. Pray the blessings of God. Remind yourself of what God has already done for you. Make the scriptures personal.
- Get help from a friend (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12): Difficult times can send you into depression and isolation. Difficult times can affect your emotional regulation and your brain’s ability to function at its optimum level. You need the support of a loving friend to battle this time with you. Praying by yourself is great, but praying with a friend is even more powerful.
What is a good prayer for strength?
Here’s an example of a prayer for strength during difficult times using the tips above:
“Dear God, I come to you feeling utterly broken. I feel mistreated, misunderstood and confused. But God even though I feel like this today I find peace in knowing that you said ‘joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5). I trust you to fight my battles (Deuteronomy 20:4). I believe that you will restore everything I’ve lost (Joel 2:25). Most importantly God I thank you for promising to always be with me (Matthew 28:20). In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Don’t be ashamed to tell God your feelings. Don’t be embarrassed because a difficult time has tested your faith in ways that you never imagined. Your heavenly father wants you to bring all of that to him.
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV
Remember that Jesus is your example when it comes to prayer.
He gave us the model prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 to illustrate how to approach God in prayer. The entire prayer can be broken down into two parts. Part one (vs 9-10) describes the glory of God while part two (vs 11-13) focuses on our need. When you commit to praying through a difficult time the way Jesus models for us, it includes honoring God for who he is and clearly communicating your needs.
If strength is what you need, ask for it.
If you can’t get out of bed to function in your daily life, ask for the will to move.
When your mind is racing from the lingering intrusive thoughts that make you feel crazy, ask God for peace of mind.
While you are waiting for a miracle from God in your situation, ask for patience.
What does God say about difficult times?
God has a lot to say about difficult times. I am personally grateful for this when my life feels like a living example of Murphy’s law.
When it seems like everything that can go wrong will go wrong, it calms my anxious heart to know that God is near and understands.
Some of the greatest examples of persistence, faith, grace and deliverance come from passages found throughout the entire Bible. Here are just a few of these critical passages where God tells us how to handle difficult times.
- Difficult times will happen. James 1:2-4
- When you are weak the power of God strengthens you. 2 Corinthians 12:9
- When you cry out to God he hears you. Psalm 34:17
- Through Christ you can overcome difficult times: Philippians 4:13
- Difficult times strengthen your character: 1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:3-5
- All things (even difficult things) work together for your good. Romans 8:28
- God is your refuge in troublesome times. Psalm 46:1
How do you pray for someone else’s strength?
Remember earlier we talked about how important a friend is during difficult seasons? Well, if you find yourself supporting a friend or loved one who needs to prayer for strength during difficult times here are a few things you can do:
- Don’t underestimate the power of your prayers. You can play a huge role in helping another person through a difficult time by praying for them.
- You can pray even when you don’t know all the details. You can ask someone what their prayer needs are but it’s not required. You can actively and authentically pray for someone’s strength even when you don’t know the details.
- If you’re supporting someone who needs strength to make a tough decision, pray that God gives them wisdom. Asking for wisdom opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s leading. No matter what the decision, with God’s wisdom the best choice can be made.
- Ultimately pray for peace. Sometimes difficult times persist. Heartbreak, illness and pain can seem to keep going forever. As a loved one, not directly involved, this can be hard to watch. So, pray for peace. No matter how long a difficult time lasts or how troublesome it gets, God can provide peace to you even in the middle of the storm. (1 John 14:27, Philippians 4:6-7)
Short prayers for hard times
Some of the most moving prayers are short prayers. On days when energy is low and you feel like you can’t even think to pray, use these short but mighty prayers:
“God you are all powerful and I need you right now”
“I know you are working it out, but help my unbelief God”
“Be with me now God”
“Calm my heart”
“Remove my fear”
“Bring peace God”
“Help me to feel your love”
“Help me to see your love”
“You are good, help me to see your goodness all around me”
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that you can utilize to recover and regain strength while going through a difficult time.
Life doesn’t stop simply because it’s a difficult season for you. Your family has needs, your job and responsibilities still need attention. The immense amount of stress this causes coupled with the pressure to maintain is overwhelming.
So pray about it.
God cares so much about what you are going through. Prayer has the power to take you from a place of agony and bring you into peace.
Let prayer be the well of unlimited strength that you gather from daily as you push through your difficult time.
Find more from Kelly at kellyafoster.com.
Kelly A. Foster is the founder of the online women’s ministry Imperfectly His, and author of “Dear Proverbs 31 Woman…Stop Making Me Look Bad!” Kelly has helped hundreds of women embrace their imperfect stories, become healthy, whole and healed while pursuing their passions with purpose.
Kelly is a minister of the gospel for over 10 years, has served as a church planter, coach and mentor to many. When Kelly’s not juggling dinner or writing deadlines you can find her binge watching documentaries with her 3 beautiful daughters in St. Louis, MO. Find more at kellyafoster.com.