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Prayer Tip: When Prayers Go Unanswered

April 30, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 22:2 (CEB), John 15:7 (CEB) and Luke 22:42 (CEB)

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. (Psalm 22:2)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, CEB)

“Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.” (Luke 22:42, CEB)

Daily Reflection & Prayer

My mom passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2018. It was not an easy illness. The disease causes a hardening of the lungs that makes it harder and harder to breathe as it progresses. Along with the progression, mental fatigue came, and concentration became hard because her brain was oxygen deprived. I not only lost my mother, who was the most delightful mom someone could ask for, but I lost her slowly and watched as she suffered.

Henri Nouwen writes this about suffering in The Inner Voice of Love: “There is great pain and suffering in the world. But the pain hardest to bear is your own. Once you have taken up that cross, you will be able to see clearly the crosses that others have to bear, and you will be able to reveal to them their own ways to joy, peace, and freedom.”

One thing that did not fatigue was my mom’s unfailing love of God, her kindness and her gentle, loving spirit. It was always with her. For a bit she was able to still greet at her church with her oxygen tank on her back. She took notes during the sermons and then wrote her church notes into a journal. She and Jesus were very good friends and when she passed, her doctors were all sad. She had made a community of love even within the care of her doctor’s offices.

I learned and watched my mom take up her cross and find her way to still experience joy and peace in the midst of her suffering. I found a way towards joy and peace in suffering the loss of her. As long as God is with us, we can bear all things.

A prayer for when you are suffering:

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life.

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Breathe in: I lift my eyes to the mountains.
Breathe out: My help comes from the Lord.
Breathe in: The Lord will keep you from all harm.
Breathe Out: He will watch over your life.

Think of a friend or acquaintance you know is struggling. Hold their face in your mind and pray Numbers 6:24-26: May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you, his peace.

Dear God, thank you for being with us in the highs and lows of life. Thank you for calling us to Christian Community so we can help each other as we bear our crosses until the day when you make everything right in the world again.


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Ashly Cooley

Ashly has been on staff since 2015 and this is the best job she has ever had. She is passionate about serving the Lord, normalizing mental health care, and is a self proclaimed bibliophile. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, extended family and friends as well as dancing badly and snuggling her dog, Bessie.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.