Do you know how to pray when life falls apart? Vaneetha Rendall Risner, a blogger and contributor to Desiring God and Today’s Christian Woman, has written a piece for The Gospel Coalition titled How to Pray When Life Falls Apart. She asks,
“Should we pray for healing and deliverance, believing that we just need to ask, because God can do anything? Or should we relinquish our desires to God, trusting that even in our anguish he has the perfect plan for us?
When life falls apart, God invites us to do both.”
God in His humanity gave us a perfect example to follow. In Mark 14:36 Jesus says,
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer? Risner breaks down this prayer for us, and helps us understand how we can come before the Lord when our world is crumbling.
1. Jesus used a term of endearment when He spoke to His Father.
God is almighty, Creator of all, deserving of honor and reverence, but as Risner writes He is also our Abba Father and we can and should approach Him as such.
2. Nothing is too difficult for God.
God can do all things, and nothing is impossible for Him. Risner confides,
“I often functionally doubt God’s ability to change my situation. I scan my circumstances and assume things will continue as they are. Even as I’m praying, I don’t look for miraculous answers; my prayers become rote recitations of requests more than earnest petitions of faith.
But in Gethsemane, Jesus knows his Father can grant his request. God gives life to the dead and summons into being things that don’t exist.”
When we feel like all hope is gone for our situation, we need to remember God’s limitless power.
3. God wants us to bring our desires before Him.
In the Garden, “Jesus is asking if there is another way—any other way—for God to accomplish his purposes,” Risner states. She continues,
“So many times I filter my requests. Should I ask God to relieve my suffering when I know he can use it? Is it okay to ask for healing, or is that presumptuous? Should I not ask for anything and just accept what I’ve been given? That posture seems more holy.
Yet, Jesus asks God to remove the cup.
If Jesus can ask, I can too.”
This does not mean that God will answer yes to what we have asked, but it does mean that God wants us to petition Him earnestly in truth for the things we desire and the things we wish He would change.
4. We are called to follow God’s will to whatever end.
Jesus accepted the answer His Father gave Him completely…there was no other way, and He followed through to the cross without complaint. Risner expresses,
“God often has to pry my fingers off my desired outcome. Though I’ve felt devastated by his “no’s,” as I submit to his will—often with disappointment and tears—he assures me he’s working for my good. I see only part of the picture. He has a purpose in his denials.
The Father said “no” to the Son. And that “no” brought about the greatest good in all of history.”
We may never know God’s reason for something on this earth, but we can trust that His reasons are true and merciful.
5. Draw near to God always.
Storms will come in life, but no matter the situation we can pray as Jesus did.
“Let us draw near to God, believe he can change our situation, boldly ask him for what we need, and submit our will to his,” says Risner.
“Our Father’s plans are always perfect. They will always be for our good and his glory,” she concludes.
To read Vaneetha Rendall Risner’s article in its entirety please visit The Gospel Coalition.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
When life is falling apart remember that you are not alone; God is near and He is at work. He is able to do all things, and He answers us according to His will out of His great love and mercy. Oh Lord, help us to accept your anwers completely—complaining about nothing and boasting only of your love.
Publication date: March 28, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.