When Prayers for Miracles Disappoint, followed by A Prayer for the Weary Soul

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

John 6: 26-29


“The will of God is love. And love suffers.” – Elizabeth Elliot


Everything about the memory seems naively earnest and devastatingly sad to me, and—unlike many other things from those days—I can remember it so clearly. I was seventeen years old, standing over an old man who must have been in his eighties, at least. We were at the front of the sanctuary at a new startup church in my hometown. It must have been number fifteen on my list of churches I had attended with my family over my teenage years, and it would be the last on my list for a while–at least.

The worship music was loud and the people were tossing praises up toward the stage as if Jesus Himself were ripping it on the guitar. But I wasn’t singing. I focused on this old man in the wheelchair. I watched him achingly attempting to bob his head in worship and clap his arthritic hands along to the melody.  

My teenage years were filled with well-meaning people pointing me to miracles. I was told I had the authority of God and that if I had enough faith I could pray for miracles of healing and deviations of prophetic power and those things would be given to me. I was taught that this was the mark of a person truly walking with Jesus.

But I doubted. I had lived two of my high school years watching my mom lay bedriddren, unable to walk on her own–unable to come to my dance recitals or attend my school events. I watched my dad lower her towel-wrapped body into the bathtub every night so she could bathe. I begged her to have more faith. I prayed fervently in my closet at night that God would heal her body. And although some progress had been made over the years, it was mostly delivered by a holistic doctor pumping vitamin C into her veins, not by a divine answer to a request for a sudden miracle.

But this is what I had been told was the evidence of my faith—believing for miracles and seeing them come to fruition. I believed—but no miracles. Something didn’t add up.

I marched up to that poor old man in that wheelchair and I asked him sternly if he wanted to be healed, to which he looked in my earnest brown eyes and said, “Yes! Yes, I want to be healed.” So I did what I thought any warrior of God does in a moment like that—I put my hands in his hands and I begged the God of miracles to help him get up and walk. And the man shook and nodded and tears welled in his eyes and I stood there over him while the music died down and nothing happened.

Nothing happened.

I leaned over and whispered something between an apology and a hope into that man’s ears and I headed straight out the back doors of that church and into the parking lot.

In my car I prayed an honest and humble prayer to the Lord. I asked the Lord if I could search for Him anywhere and everywhere else. And I felt, honestly, that I heard the soft compassionate voice of the Lord say Go.

So I did. I left the church and abandoned my moral resolutions to Christianity for the length of my college years. And this would be a very sad and very hopeless story of abandonment of my Christian faith if it were not the reality that at the end of my running–in my very sinful, very desperate, very messed up search to make sense of it all—He moved in towards me when no one else would and began the great work of calling me home to His true heart.

Today, I completely believe in the God of miracles. I have experienced incredible miracles of healing within my own mind and body. I’ve seen others miraculously healed by a loving God. My mom is completely healed today.

But I can not deny the great suffering in the world, which includes suffering among many fervent followers of Jesus. My understanding of how we are to approach healing and miracles has shifted because I have learned that the God of the Bible is both a miraculous Healer as well as a God who allows for suffering, sometimes for a long time. What I’ve come to discover is that I know close to nothing, but God knows absolutely everything— and He is actively engaged, even in the suffering, and I can trust Him even in the waiting.

I have since walked through incredible valleys of both physical, relational and mental sickness and the Lord has used my suffering to teach me about His character and His heart for the weary. It has deepened my compassion for those who are walking through dark seasons. I now long to move in towards those people, “weeping with those who weep,” rather than moving in towards people with ultimatums tossed up at God demanding that He heal on my count.

Below, I offer a prayer for the weary soul. If you are walking through a season of suffering and find yourself longing for a miracle, waiting for the lemonade to be pressed from the lemons, you are not alone. Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, knows exactly how hard your suffering has been, and He has deep pools of empathy for you. You do not carry this burden alone.


A Prayer for the Weary Soul

Our Father, who knows all things. Nothing happens in this world without your permission. We struggle to understand the suffering in the world. The pain in and of itself is torrential, but the separation it seems to cause between us and others—and at times, Lord—us and You, is unbearable.

See the pain of the sufferer, Lord. Look on your creation with Your kindness and mercy. You, the Creator of all, are capable of great things. So we ask, because You tell us we can, for healing. We believe that You—the God that holds the planets in orbit—have the power to do this. If you will it, Lord, please bring Your healing.

But if, in Your divine plan, You have allowed this suffering for yet another day—show the sufferer where You are at work in the suffering. Draw them closer to You. May they empathize with Your sufferings, Jesus. You took on all the pain in the world caused by our sin. You took on all suffering that we may have life.

Teach us about this mystery, Lord. Show us your heart. May we pull from deep wells of empathy for those around us who are also hurting. May we move in toward the sufferer as You work out Your divine plan for our good.

Where we lack faith, Lord strengthen it. When we lose hope, lift our chins to gaze at You.


The above is my own prayer for the weary soul, and I hope it was encouraging. However, if you would like more liturgies to guide your heart in prayer during times of suffering, I strongly recommend Every Moment Holy Volume 2 by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. It is a beautiful compilation of modern prayers for death, grief, and hope.

For more on suffering, I recommend Elizabeth Elliot’s collection of talks, Suffering is Never for Nothing.

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The Gospel in Five Minutes

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17

I grew up in the southern United States right on the fifth notch of the Bible Belt, and there is one thing I know for sure about the place I am from—many have not heard the gospel. I live in a cultural phenomenon where many are raised with Jesus being a common household name (or, common explicative), but they have no or little awareness of the true living God’s character and His power to save. So, I would like to start with the gospel, and every once in a while I will come back to it again.

My husband and I believe the good news of Jesus is not just for unbelievers. We, devoted followers of Jesus, need to hear it frequently—if not daily. It refreshes our soul and evokes praise to our Father. We have seen the power of the gospel in action when told both to unbelievers and those who are fervent followers of Jesus. Just this past week, we saw how sharing the gospel with a devoted follower of Jesus prepared her heart for miraculous reconciliation with another believer in our church.

So whether or not you are a seasoned Christian or you’ve never heard the good news of Jesus, I hope this five minute telling of the gospel informs and refreshes your spirit.

The world is broken. You and I know this because we see and experience it every day. Marriages fall apart, children endure abuse, nations are at war, the elderly are often forgotten, racism is rampant. The world is broken.

But God did not originally create the world in this way. He originally created the world in perfect and peaceful order, and humans walked in perfect and right relationship with their Creator without sickness and without death. And because God is love, he did not hold humans captive in right relationship with Him, but He gave them a choice—to either trust that He is good and to obey His good commands, or to follow their own desires and disobey their Creator.

Those first humans who walked with God chose to disobey Him and follow their own desires. This decision resulted in a great divide between humans and God, and—since the beginning—all humanity has continued to walk away from God in disobedience. This disobedience is called sin, and sin is what led to the broken world we live in today that ends in death for every living thing.

But God is love. And despite our decision to reject His commands and to determine our own path, He had in mind—since the beginning of the world—a plan to restore us to right relationship with Him again. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to accomplish the otherwise impossible for us. Jesus lived this human life in perfect and right relationship with God. Jesus is our ultimate example of what it means to walk in right relationship with our Creator. Being the only human that has ever walked the earth without sin, Jesus then gave His life as a payment for the sin of the world. He died on the cross—nailed there by the very humans He came to save. But, He did not stay dead. Three days after He died on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead—conquering death and sin. Today, Jesus sits alive—in His human body—at the right hand of God our Creator in Heaven, ruling over Creation.

Jesus told the people who witnessed His life, “If anyone believes in him [Jesus], they will not perish but have eternal life.” If a person believes that Jesus is the Son of God and they repent of their sin acknowledging Jesus as Lord, their soul will be given new life and they will walk in right relationship with God our Creator once again.

Although we may turn and follow Jesus as King and walk in right relationship with our Creator again, it does not mean we will not suffer in this world. This world is still shrouded in sin, and there are many who do not know the saving power of Jesus our King. And even within ourselves when we become believers, we will continue to battle temptation to disobey the Lord and go our own way—but not without help. When we become followers of Jesus, God provides us with His Holy Spirit— a Helper for us who reminds us of God’s mercy and love and strengthens us to walk in right relationship with Him.

There will come a day when Jesus will return to the earth and God will make all things new again. As followers of Jesus, we are promised that we will inherit this new kingdom—where sin and death will exist no more and all will walk in right relationship with the Father.

See, from the beginning of time—our all-knowing Creator has been writing a beautiful redemptive story, a testament of His love for us.

So, I have a question for you. Where are you today? Is Jesus King over your life and are you walking in right relationship with your Creator God? Or are you far from God, living with brokenness in your spirit?

Our Creator made it simple for us—if we believe that Jesus is our Savior and we follow Him, we will be saved.

If you have questions about salvation or would like to learn more in scripture—please visit my contact page. I would love to start a conversation with you or put you in contact with a trusted church resource in your area.

The Powerful, Simple Act of Looking at Jesus

Jesus replied, ‘You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”

John 3: 10-15

Despite popular opinion, I believe hopelessness is a sly and quick emotion. It can come like a dark shadow over a long period of grief, or it can slip into the average day—otherwise normal and routine. Take my example from today, for instance. I sit at my desk working through my day-to-day requirements for my remote job and, suddenly, a small sliver of hopelessness creeps into my mind and drapes over my heart. It whispers, “This is it… this work, this box-checking… it is the sum total of your life from here on out.”

I know, in reality, that this is a lie. I know that hopelessness seeks to distract me from the truths I know about God and who I am in relationship to Him—that He sees me and my day-to-day life is of great value to Him. But emotions, and my responses to them, are not always logical. I can be tempted to nurse hopelessness with a long gaze at the scripts it feeds my spirit.

In Numbers 21, Israel nurses their own temptation toward hopelessness with impatience toward the Lord. Despite being fed manna from heaven and provided water from a desert rock, they continue to complain against the Lord regarding their long journey in the wilderness, saying:

“‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!'” (Numbers 20:5)

The Lord responds by sending poisonous snakes to bite the people and many die as a result. Then the Lord tells Moses to do something incredibly strange (or, I think it seems incredibly strange). He has Moses make a bronze replica of a snake and attach it to a pole. The Lord says, “All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” (Numbers 20:8) And that is what happens… in the midst of great suffering—brought on by their own sin against the Lord none-the-less—the Israelites only have to look at the symbol of their suffering established by the Lord in order to be healed.

I can imagine there were probably some Israelites that thought the solution was too good to be true. Perhaps out of spite, bitterness, or resentment—or simply out of a weariness of spirit—they refused to look. But what joy they missed out on to know that the Lord who faithfully provided in the wilderness would also provide a simple path to renewed hope, reinforcing once again His Lordship over life and death—over all.

In the Gospel of John when Jesus compares Himself to the serpent on the pole, He is making a powerful statement about what is provided to those who believe that He is Savior. The perfect Messiah was cursed for our sin and hung on a cross lifted up above sinners. When we look upon Him and believe that God provided His Son that we might return to right relationship with our Creator, we have access to a renewed hope in a God who is Lord over life and death and chooses to provide life for otherwise undeserving sinners.

If you are in a season—or maybe just a moment—of hopelessness, be encouraged that a look at our Savior is all it takes to tap into a resurgence of hope for this life and the next.


But how does a person “look” at Jesus?

By reading scripture and asking the simple question, “What does this passage reveal about the character of God or Jesus?” we can be encouraged by the affirmation of a God who is both Judge and Justifier, and a Messiah who is both Humble and Powerful to save.

By making quiet space to pray this simple prayer, “Jesus, show me where you are at work in my life,” and then silently allowing Him to speak into our hearts, we can experience God’s real and present love for us.