When You’re Too Tired To Pray

When a very stressful or traumatic event comes along or when you’re wiped out for whatever reason it can be difficult to even have the strength to pray when that’s what you need to do the most. God knows our weakness and can be our strength for us as mentioned in Psalm 73:26 NRSV – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Here are some steps I believe God led me through during one of these times.

  • Just “be” in God’s presence as a first step. You may not feel God’s presence–just acknowledge that He’s there, that you’re going to Him and that He knows you and your situation.
    Isaiah 30:15b NRSV – “in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused…”
    We won’t refuse.
  • Pray a written out prayer that you know is God’s will. This way you don’t have to try to come up with words yet. I have Puritan prayers and other prayers formatted and printed in a binder for these occasions or when I just want a change. Also see the Prayer category here.
  • Talk to God about what’s going on as opposed to what you would do in your regular devotional/prayer time. Sometimes you can just talk to yourself in front of God. Psalm 62:8 (NRSV) says in part to “pour out your heart before Him” which may or may not be an accurate interpretation but you get the idea.
  • Spend a short amount of time reading the Bible like one Psalm.
    Psalm 119:28 NRSV – “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” I’ve grown to like Psalm 139 for this. This shows how well God knows us, how all our days were written in God’s book and planned, how He knew how our bodies might fail or react to certain situations etc.

My thinking is not necessarily to do all of these things at once, but progressively as you have the energy and get your wits about you.

I believe it’s good to have various “action plans” like this for when difficult times come up, especially for those of us who are predisposed to have “episodes” because of mental health problems or maybe for people who are in other various difficult situations.

Although we can never easily handle extremely trying situations, it’s good to prepare ourselves as best we can. Praying and growing in trust in God’s character through studying the Bible are the best things we can do. My favorite prayer in this regard is Colossians 1:11-12 NRSV:

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

“But what kept me going more than anything else was my confidence in the character of God.”

–Ravi Zacharias quoting Charles Cooper in Cries of the Heart

We absolutely must read and study the Bible in order to know God’s character and trust that He is who He says He is.

My Redeemer Is Faithful And True
by Steven Curtis Chapman

As I look back on the road I’ve traveled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He has said He will do,
And every morning His mercies are new.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
‘There is a place I am preparing for you.’
I know someday I’ll see my Lord face to face,
‘Cause my Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.

10 Responses to “When You’re Too Tired To Pray”

  1. 1 Nancy

    I’m with you…#1 IS #1…commit yourself to God!

    “And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
    When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.”

    Hmmm…is scholarly understanding of God an oxymoronic endeavor? Ecclesiastes leaves one wondering…I tend to chase the wind a lot!

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Hi Nancy. Thanks for stopping by.

    I’m not sure what scholarly understanding of God is. Maybe scholarly is intellectual knowledge and knowledge through the Holy Spirit is experiential knowledge.

  3. 3 Peter M. Lopez

    That is really excellent advice. I hope your readers will receive it.

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks. I hope somebody benefits from it. I certainly have. It comes when you least expect it and it’s good to be prepared.

  5. 5 Susan

    Jeff…what are you referring to by “episodes”…mental health problems. I am new to your site. I suffer from severe mood issues that alter how I think from one moment to the next…His Word is my lifeline. Knowing it never changes (as He never changes) and knowing it is forever means everything to me.

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    Hi Susan. I’m Bipolar and can go up, although my ups are hardly anything and mostly anxiety and then depressive episodes. Medication and spiritual maturity have helped me from going into “the abyss” as I call it but it can happen from time to time.

    It sure is great knowing that God is always good and that Scripture is always there for us as you say.

    Thanks for commenting.

  7. 7 Anita Howell

    Thank you so much for your post. I’m in the middle of our son’s medical treatments and too tired to stay focused. I searched “Bible when you are tired” and found your blog. Your advice was very helpful.

    God bless!

  8. 8 Scripture Zealot

    You’re so welcome. It’s great to hear that this helps someone but I’m very sorry for what you’re going through. I don’t have children but it must be terribly difficult. I’ll say a prayer for you.

  9. 9 Ginny

    Like Anita, we are in the middle of our son’s medical treatments for cancer. God has been so faithful, as He always is, but we are tired. Searched for “too tired to pray” and came to this post. Who, but God, knew that when you wrote this two and a half years ago, it would be such a great encouragement to me tonight. Thank you.

  10. 10 Scripture Zealot

    Wow, I’m in tears. I’ve never had a comment quite like this (or Anita’s–are you still there?). I’m going through a very bad time myself right now, but nothing like what you’re going through. Thank you so much for commenting and I will pray for you. I’m so sorry you all have to be going through this.

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