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Persevering in prayer: how to keep praying for difficult issues

A prayer guide to help you continue to pray for difficult issues. We hope it blesses and encourages you.

By Rachael Adams | 26 Mar 2021

Credit: Margaret Chandler/Tearfund

Credit: Margaret Chandler/Tearfund

In the New Testament, Paul urges us to keep praying (Ephesians 6:18). But continuing to pray for difficult issues – such as conflict or injustice – can be hard, especially when the situation appears to be unmoving, or is getting worse. Here’s a resource you can use to help you persevere in prayer – because prayer is powerful, and God is using your prayers to make a difference around the world.

Before we get started, remember that we are not called to do this alone. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says that God is with people when they gather together with at least one other person in his name.

If an issue feels particularly weighty, reflect on who you can pray about it with. This could be one person via WhatsApp or on a prayer walk, or it could be through a small group, prayer room or church service. Praying with others can encourage you and motivate you to keep going.

Here are four F’s that we can use to help us to pray about difficult situations:

Free yourself: The Bible is full of examples of what happens when we bring our requests to God. God will sustain us (Psalm 55:22). If we feel burdened, God will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). Let’s hand over whatever fears or burdens we have about praying for this issue to God so that we can pray from a place of freedom.

Focus: Spend a few moments in silence. This will help you to still your soul, especially if the issue feels particularly overwhelming. Then, think about what is happening right now and talk it through with God.

Don’t look back at how long the issue has been going on for, but think about what the reality is in this present moment. You can use information from the stories pages on our website, or news and social media to help you understand the issue more and bring it to God.

Feel: Allow yourself to listen to your emotions on this issue. Are you feeling anger? Grief? Every emotion is valid. Bring these into your prayers, too. Jesus shows us that persevering in prayer is not about forsaking our emotions. Just like Jesus praying at Lazarus' tomb (John 11:32-44), our emotions can move us to pray with conviction and honesty in the face of great challenge.

Find God: Find where God is already at work on this issue and join with him. This can be as simple as asking God to show you and listening to his response. It might be helpful to recite scripture about God’s sovereignty and his characteristics so that you can align yourself with God’s plans for the world (Psalm 11:7, Isaiah 58:6).

Please pray

Let’s now apply this framework to praying for a challenging situation: the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which marks its sixth anniversary this year. 

Free yourself: Begin by inviting God to be with you and hand over the issue to him. Remember, God is a loving father, so you can share with him if this issue feels particularly heavy for you.

Dear God, we thank you that you hear our prayers. Be with us today as we lift up the Yemen conflict and the people of Yemen to you. Where this issue is overwhelming, please give us your peace.

Focus: Spend a few moments in silence. Then have a conversation with God about the situation. It’s completely up to you how many issues you bring before God about what’s happening in Yemen.

God there are millions of people in Yemen who are hungry or in desperate need of safe water. Many are scared for their lives and the safety of their families due to the conflict.

Weapons are still being sold by UK companies that are being used by Saudia Arabia in the conflict. UK aid has been slashed, which leaves people without support and could lead to a famine. Tearfund’s local partner in Yemen are reaching people with food baskets, trauma support and clean water…

Feel: Think about these issues and how they make you feel. Name the emotions and give them to God. You can shout, sob or whisper. Many of David’s Psalms in the Bible are full of anger and pain directed at God (Psalm 13, Psalm 79). Cry out if you need to on behalf of the people of Yemen.

Lord, this situation is…

Find God: God has not forsaken or abandoned the people of Yemen. There have been small answers to prayer in which we can give thanks for, such as more than 11,422 people being reached with lifesaving food parcels and hygiene supplies recently thanks to the generosity of people who gave to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

Ask God what his heart is for the people of Yemen and listen to his response. Pray to the God of justice your bold prayers – stopping the sales of weapons in the conflict, peace, a reversal of the decision to cut aid to Yemen…

God, speak to me about Yemen. What are your plans and how can I join with you in prayer and action to help support the people of Yemen?

God you love justice. Bring your justice to Yemen. I pray for…

End your time in prayer by thanking God for working in you and through you.

Written by

Written by Rachael Adams


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