When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

Praying wall

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Ps. 42:5-6, NIV).

There are days when I don’t feel like praying. I had one recently. That morning, I was listless and distracted, just “not feeling it.” I prayed anyway. Over the years, I have learned the vital importance of pushing through contrary emotions to be with God. The wonderful thing about this exercise is that more often than not, my emotions end up catching up with my spirit!

My quiet time that day was no exception. After pressing in to focus on the Lord, I found that my feelings were entirely relieved of their lethargy. I was strengthened, renewed, and ready for the day.

I love the way Psalm 42 models for us the way to address our own soul, in challenging moments like the one I just described. The soul is composed of our mind, will, and emotions. The psalmists through whom Holy Spirit wrote this Scripture, the Sons of Korah, understood that the soul needs to be in subjection to the spirit. With our spirit, we can take charge of our inner space and exhort our own soul, causing it to align with the truth of God’s word.

The Spirit of Jesus became one with our spirit when we were born again (1 Cor. 6:17). As a result, our spirit is already perfect (Heb. 12:23). This means that our spirit is charged with the presence of God, predisposed to be a channel of His power. Not only that, but our spirit is the core of our being. All matters of life can and should flow out from this center, where He lives and reigns.

Growing up in Him means that we learn to walk in this way increasingly every day. We learn to allow His Spirit, through our spirit, to govern our soul. This means that Holy Spirit comes to lead in everything that we do, think, and speak. As a result, when our soul is thinking, feeling, or wanting something contrary to the perfect will of God, Holy Spirit will alert us to the contradiction. At the same time, He will endue our spirit with His power. As we lift our eyes to Him, He will provide us with everything we need to bring our soul into a place of obedience and life.

In light of this principle, the Sons of Korah say encouragingly to their souls, “Why are you downcast? Put your hope in the Lord!” As we read and meditate on their words, we join in with them. We talk to our own despondent souls too, saying: “Beloved soul, discouragement is not going to dictate how I live my life today! Nope! I’m going to praise Him! He’s my Savior! He’s my God! He’s never once let me down! I know I will once again see His faithfulness and His goodness in the land of the living!” And we keep on in that way, until our spirit has risen up in His power and created a whole new inner atmosphere within us!

Is heaviness trying to sit on your emotions today, my friend? Give it a try. Rev up your engines… get your praise on! In the power of God, let your spirit arise!

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Have you ever tried exhorting your own soul?

 

 

31 thoughts on “When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

  1. Jennifer, a beautiful post. Thanks for reminding us to encourage ourselves. I sometimes also do not feel like praying. It is then that I will take my guitar, and sing praises to the Lord. Or I will sing : “Amazing Grace” , which is a summary of my life. 🤗

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    1. Thank you so much, Sally! That’s a wonderful strategy. Doesn’t feel like a coincidence, because I used to play the guitar years ago, and it came to my mind recently to pray about picking it up again. I sure appreciate you sharing that!

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      1. Nice to hear from you Jennifer, and so glad to hear of Lily’s recovery. I prayed for your family, along with many others.
        Guitar is such a beautiful instrument- light and portable. I keep mine always out on it’s stand, so it is always ready when I feel inspired to sing and play. Guitars are also related to lyres, which King David played. In Hebrew, Psalm means song , or prayer, accompanied by strings. I play with softer strings now, which are easier on the fingers. Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord. 🤗

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      2. Sally, I am so profoundly grateful for your prayers for us, and for those of countless others, as you said. With all my heart. And I love hearing your description about the guitar. What a beautiful gift!

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  2. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. When I struggle to pray I either listen to worship music or read the Psalms. It helps me also to just push through those emotions otherwise it will end up with days of not spending time with God.

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  3. Weariness can and is such a distraction in our daily walk with Jesus. Be it physical distress or the pressures of life, Jesus always extends that invitation to be yoked to Him, for He has promised to carry the WEIGHT of life. These, I believe to be most special times, if not divine appointments to draw us closer to the Father. As we approach our weaknesses and frailties, we have opportunity to experience His Divine Strength. This I try to position in a sacred place in my heart to reflect on, when I am down. In this I give thanks. Len Wisniewski

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  4. We all go through flat stretches, and we hopefully hold to the faith that they are temporary. There are times when I’ve prodded my soul, “What do you need? Gimme a signal here!” And there are times in which the jump start has come completely out of the blue. But the flat times, I believe, help us appreciate even more when we are lit up with the Spirit! — Mike

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  5. Great reminder.!’
    Feeling like praying’. I long for the day when praying will be such a natural part of my life that it would be akin to saying ‘I don’t FEEL like breathing’. I believe this can only be as we learn and grow. On waking before even getting out of bed. Abba My Father in Heaven!. This is like an instant prayer then get up start rushing around but the day has begun with that upward focus. For the rest of the day simply knowing in your Heart He is with you, journey onwards. I spent a lot of wasted time by trying to set aside a ‘prayer’ time until the truth of PRAY CONTINUOUSLY hit me. Make Him and your communication with Him a part of your whole like. ‘Abba be with me and with all those who earnestly seek after You this day. a-men and a-men.

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    1. Amen, Faye! I long for that day, too! I’m with you, continually leaning in for His training on abiding in His presence all day long. I’ve grown much in this but have so much more to go! Longing ever for more of Him!!

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  6. Every one who wants to sustain stability in the Spirit has to learn this; regardless of our feelings we rise above to the truth of the word of God and we find out our feelings align gradually.

    God bless you for this post; is awesome and full of truth.

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