What to Pray When You’re In the Pit
So you’re down and out and not sure you can take much more.
You look around and think to yourself:
This is it?
This is my life?
Is this as good as it gets?
You shrug and respond:
Well, sure it is. It’s what I had comin’ to me.
My mother told me this would happen.
I should have known better.
What was I thinking!
The imagined words of others begin to float into your mind:
You’re no fun; live a little.
It’s all in your head. You’re overreacting.
You’re exhausted. You’re not sure how you got here, but it’s been awhile.
It’s dark where you are.
It’s hard to breathe.
There’s no rest here.
You’re just going through the motions.
You wonder if anybody knows.
You feel alone here, isolated, even with your friends.
You live in fear here even in the presence of loved ones.
You’re a mess, barely keeping it together.
You’re screaming, but words aren’t coming out.
It happened so slowly. Gradually. Over time. But here you are. In the pit.
And I get it. I’ve been there.
Maybe you landed in this dark, muddy place because of something you did. A choice you made. A wrong move. A misstep. And you’ve convinced yourself you belong here.
Maybe someone hurt you. Bad. And it pushed you into isolation with no rescue in sight. Now you feel helpless. Hopeless. You’re hesitant to trust anyone who comes along. You figure it’s just easier to stay here.
How you ended here isn’t the point. While your pain, your guilt, your anger, your shame are very real, they have no right to steer your life. No right to steal your joy. No right to rob from you anymore.
What the point is that you need a way out. And I can help. Here's how:
PRAY. PRAY AGAIN. PRAY SOME MORE.
Right now you may not have the words to pray. Your mind is cluttered, clouded, infested. It’s a struggle to string words together to make a clear thought. You’re ashamed or confused by your circumstances.
You think, “Surely God cannot or won’t hear the mutterings of a sinful woman. Of course He can. Not only can He hear you, He is waiting for you to call out to him. He is ready and able to answer the call for help!
When it’s too difficult to pray or you have no pretty, fluffy words to pronounce, try this:
That’s it. Nothing else. Just his name.
When you feel like you’ve gone twelve rounds boxing with your past, whisper His name.
When you feel the enemy’s grip on your neck, whisper Jesus.
When your limp body won’t leave the couch, whisper His name.
When the tears flow like a deluge, whisper Jesus.
There is undeniable power in the name of Jesus. Use it. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will work on your behalf, opening doors for more intentional prayer, giving you the words to speak.
For everyone who calls on the name Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13).
There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might (Jeremiah 10:6).
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13).
Say “God, meet me in the pit.”
You’re Inviting Him into your yuck. Allowing Him to join you.
The good Lord shows up when we ask him to. In fact, we are instructed to call on him. To search earnestly for him. He is just waiting to respond. The best evidence of God meeting you where you are is Daniel 3:17-25. Maybe you’re familiar with it. If not, let this encourage you:
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us…But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you…that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.
Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in.
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them in the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
Indeed this king did see a fourth guy. The Most High God sent his angel to rescue His followers. If he can do that for these gentlemen, He can do it for you.
Say “God, I need courage.”
You’re asking God to arm you. To equip you. To make you bold.
God can provide the courage you need to handle any situation and the endurance to survive it. Seek courage and expect to receive it. Ask so that you will be able to stand, stand firm. Witness the Holy Spirit fighting for you.
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous; and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you (1 Chronicles 28:20).
Say “God, I need rest.”
You’re telling him you need a break from the fight. You’re giving him your struggle. You’re letting him have it.
A dictionary site defines rest as relief or freedom, especially from what wearies, troubles, or disturbs; refreshing ease of inactivity after exertion or labor. This is precisely what you need: rest from what has been disturbing you. You have exerted so much energy fighting. It’s time to stop.
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11: 28-30).
Say “God, protect me.”
You’re asking God to shield you from the person or the situation hurting you. You’re allowing him to cover you.
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed (Psalm 57:1).
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’”
God promises that whoever or whatever your “Egyptian” is—your past, your ex, your parents, your shame, your guilt—can hurt you no more because He can rid you of it. He will protect you from its hold on you.
Say “God, free me from this pit; release me.”
You’re telling God you’ve had enough. That you are ready to leave this pit.
If freedom is what you want, freedom is what you will get. Christ did not come so that we would live in bondage, chained to our transgressions. He came to set us free. He did that for you on the cross at Calvary.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love (Galatians 5: 13-14).
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law (Galatians 5:1).
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
It’s time to get out of that pit. Are you ready? You can do this. I promise.