Every Christian has at least one time in their faith journey when they feel spiritually dry. For some, this time in the spiritual desert lasts for a brief period of time and for others it lasts for a lifetime. While spiritual dry spells can encourage great spiritual growth, they are also a very trying time on a person’s soul. Spiritual dryness can lead to spiritual apathy which makes it hard to do the simplest tasks – even praying.
If you’ve spent a prolonged time in the midst of a dry spell, sometimes it can be too hard to even muster a simple Hail Mary or Our Father. I know I’ve been there. I will start praying an Our Father, and get sidetracked about three lines in. So many words; so many lines (or so it seems, when prayer is hard).
Throughout my wanderings in the spiritual desert, I’ve come to rely on a few very short and sweet prayers that are quick to utter while still expressing what is on my heart.
Help my unbelief!
These three little words are pulled straight from Scripture. A man brings his son who is possessed by a demon to Jesus and begs Jesus to drive the demon out, if he can. Jesus responds to him that everything is possible to those who have faith, and the father cries “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:14-32).
I discovered this passage at the depth of my spiritual dry spell and what immediately struck me was that the father did not just tell Jesus that he did in fact believe and leave it at that. Rather, he recognized that while he did believe, his faith was still lacking. It was eye-opening for me because I realized that whatever faith I thought I had was still lacking. This little prayer asks God to help my unbelief, wherever it is that my faith falls short.
Thy Will Be Done
In the times where I get easily sidetracked just praying the Our Father, I instead focus on these four little words. This line from the prayer sums up the Christian theme: for God’s will to be done in each of our lives.
I’ve found that praying these four short words can pack a punch. When I send these words towards Heaven, I am not only asking for God’s will to be done, but I am truthfully asking for Him to send me the strength and grace to accept and carry out His will, whatever that may be. It sometimes takes a lot of time to see, but I have seen the power that these four words can have in shifting my life in the direction of God.
Show me where You are in this; show me Your peace.
I started praying these words at a time in my life where I was struggling, and I knew that I needed to keep my focus on God. This short phrase especially came to my aid on a night where I was asked to make a difficult decision. As I took a deep breath, knowing what my choice was going to be, even though it was one I didn’t want to have to make, I silently prayed these words to ask God to lead me in that moment. And wow, did He respond in a big way. God sent me an answer that was as clear as day to me, and I felt such a strong wave of consolation – something I hadn’t felt in a long time in my prayer – and I knew that my peace was with Him.
I think this can be a powerful prayer in any situation – good or bad – because it centers your heart and mind to God, and seeks to find Him wherever you may be in that moment. God is in everything, and by asking for Him to reveal Himself to us, we can find peace.
Have you ever experienced a time where prayer is hard? What are some prayers that you have centered yourself on during these times?