The Power of Prayer In Times of Despair | Aaron W. Matthews
As breath is to the lungs, so prayer is to the soul. We must be a praying people. It is the privilege of every child of God to be able to intercede. God has opened His throne room up to us through Christ. We have the freedom to pray any time, anywhere. And, on top of this, God gives His ear to His children. I’m afraid we have so little of what we desire and need because we have such a weak view and application of prayer (James 4:2). God’s power is unleashed in our lives when we boldly bow before Him and pray prayers of faith from repentant hearts!
Despair comes to each of us in life. It comes in different forms on different days. Despair may slowly build up, or it may come all at once. We can know that just as opportunities come to us in life that opposition will come as well. We should be expecting both, and we should be close with the Lord when both occur. However, we also must realize that affliction can make us better. It can actually strengthen our prayer lives, and with strengthened prayer lives, we become stronger men and women.
I think about Elijah in the Old Testament. He watched God’s people turn further and further from God. He watched as they suffered for their sins. He was so desperate that he prayed for a spiritual reality to come from a physical reality. There was a spiritual dryness – a drought – happening in the Israelites’ lives. So, Elijah asked God for something unusual. He prayed for their repentance to come through affliction by asking God to stop the rain and bring a famine.
As we know in James 5:17-18, God answers the fervent prayers of the righteous. Likewise, God answered Elijah’s prayer. This affliction not only energized the prophet’s prayer life when He saw God answer Him, but it was through the drought that the Israelite’s came to realize their desperate dependence upon God and repent of their sinfulness.
Desperation draws us to God, and we come to God through prayer. Therefore, when we’re in moments of despair we typically become better at interceding. If this is the only way God can get your attention, He will.
How do we become better at hearing God’s voice and obeying Him? How do we express our hearts and communicate our desires and needs? Just as with anything, we become better when we practice. Our petitions gain velocity like a rock rolling down a hill when, and not until, we regularly practice praying.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus said, “People should always pray and not lose heart.” Losing heart is growing in despair. I believe Jesus is telling us that the cure for despair is prayer. The power of prayer is evidenced most radically in our times of despair. But, we should be praying whether we’re in gloomy seasons or beautiful ones!
Like you, my prayer life will be strengthened when I diligently intercede with frequent faith and fervor. We learn to become better communicators with God when we experience needs. Still, even if we’ve come to a place where we can’t verbalize what we need, we can still prostrate our hearts before the Lord. Consider Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Ephesians 6:18, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (NLT).