When Your Prayer Tank is Empty

Some days I don’t feel like praying, but I do anyway.

Thank goodness I learned a very long time ago, that our faith cannot be based on feelings.

But I’m tired.

I’m tired of crying.  Tired of pleading.  Tired of begging.

I’m tired of praying.

Praying for that situation, that person, that problem.

I know.  It sounds like a horrible place to be, but in reality,

it comes after complete surrender.

There is a moment in prayer when the Lord speaks to my heart and says, “enough”.  The moment I empty myself and lay the burden at His feet, It’s as though I hear Him say,

“It’s time to get off your knees.  Start walking in faith and believe.  Trust Me.  Trust My heart and My plan.”

“Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

So I do keep praying, but the focus of my prayer is redirected.  I don’t stop praying specifically for that person that I love and am concerned for, it just means that I start with–and then return my focus back on God and who He is:

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless.
Youths may faint and grow weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:28-31

Only God knows the depth of my petitions.  He hears. He knows my heart and I know He answers.  He already has–in His Word:

But You, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the One who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
and He answers me from His holy mountain.”  Psalm 3:3-4

This confession comes as I’ve released it all to the Lord and He has reassured me that when I’m running on empty,

He is the One Who Fills me up.

There is a time and place for gut-honest prayer and fasting.  Often, though, my focus is on me.  What I want, what I need, what I feel like I must have before I can have peace.

But it’s just not true.

The prayer of petition can absolutely consume you.  There are so many people in my life that I am praying for.  People who are far from God.  People that He loves more than I do.  People that are given a free will, and though God loves them, He gives them the choice to follow Him or not.  That’s what makes it difficult.  Emotional.  I cry out to God on their behalf, knowing His desire is the same as mine.  Read it again:

“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

So many needs out there, and often long periods of waiting.  So much so, that I can forget that waiting on God means trusting Him.  Trusting Him even when I don’t see what He’s doing.  Believing that He is sovereign and that He is actively working out His plan–not just for the world, but for my world.

In my quiet moments alone, He gently reminds me that He is in control–

…and that my job is not to DO more–it is to love Him more.

When your prayer tank is empty you just might ask yourself these simple questions:

–Do I need to HIT THE BRAKES and rest awhile?:  Sometimes the best thing we can do is to take a hiatus.  Not from praying or from His Word–quite the opposite.  Rest can mean giving yourself permission to focus on something else for a while.  While difficulties might not disappear, it is in those troubling times that our faith, and our hope, can grow stronger–if we allow Him to be the One we trust in and focus on, not our own efforts to convince Him or manipulate Him.

“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 62:5-6

–Is it time for a U-TURN?:  Maybe you forgot to stop and fill up.  If we’re not careful, the cares of this life can consume us–and that is more than wrong–it’s harmful.  We go, go, go, and do, do, do.  Spending time with the Lord changes focus and gets it back where it should always be–on Him.  It’s only when I gaze on my Savior and glance at my problems that my perspective becomes clear.

“For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence.”  Isaiah 30:15

–Fill your tank and get moving:  I have been praying and fasting one day every week for a specific purpose, but this week I felt very distinctly that this was to be my last time to fast for this particular situation–for now at least.  It was as if God was saying, “I’ve heard you.  I know your heart.  Now let it go and trust Me–I’ve got this.”  Walking in faith means that there will come a point in our prayer when we have to choose to believe that God is in control–and live like we believe it!

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:6-8

I know that this post may be confusing to some.  It may sound as though I am frustrated by needing to spend so much time in prayer.  Let me assure you that is not the case.  Prayer is a constant. It is an integral part of my relationship with God. The weariness that I was feeling was a confession.  In my strength I can do nothing, but when I look to Him for strength, He supplies. Confessing my weakness to a God who already knows me and loves me anyway was necessary so that my tank could be emptied in order for God to fill me up with His truth.

I’m pressing on–and shifting gears.  Here’s my new prayer motto and I can’t wait to wear it as a reminder–and as an encouragement to others:

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

**This post was shared on the Salt & Light link-up


7 replies »

  1. Just heard today from our women’s Bible Study James 4:2-3 “You don’t have because you don’t ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your pleasures.” Ouch!


  2. Love this. I’ve actually been praying and fasting once a week as well. This is an excellent reminder that God cares more than I do, understands more than I do, and works more than I can.


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