Published March 23, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"Comfort - Part 3"

Our recent discussions in this space about praying even when it seems impossible to pray continue to elicit reader comments. Here are a few:

"My husband had leukemia in 1994 and was given 17 months to live. I went through what this lady [in the previous letter] is saying [feeling unable to pray]. I confided this in a friend and she told me to read Psalms. A lot of the Psalms are prayers. When I started reading the Psalms out loud it opened the floodgates for me and I was able to pray and ask the Lord to protect us. Praise the Lord my husband is still here with me and I thank the Lord every day for this answered prayer via the Psalms." – Mary W. (See the first paragraph of last week's Epistle for several specific Psalm passages that are helpful.)

"It's been nearly ten years since my 33-year old son died from leukemia but the hurt doesn't go away... I went through guilt – if I'd prayed hard enough, he'd have lived; I went through anger at God; I went through anguish because I couldn't stop the hurt my [family] was feeling... I questioned God but never stopped believing. There were times I couldn't pray but I always knew He was there – holding me in His arms and absorbing my tears. I am surrounded by great family and friends and they did my praying and scripture reading until I was able to do it. I was able to listen to Southern Gospel music and it helped more than words can express. Sheri Easter's ‘Just Praise His Name' was the best. God is always there!" – E. M.

I am reminded of a few recent songs about prayer during difficult times. Sheryl Farris wrote one ("I Keep Praying"*) for the McKameys:

I'm in another valley, where I cannot see the sun.
My eyes find no more tears to cry,
and my heart just feels numb.
The longer this valley, the darker it feels,
with shadows all around me,
the Spirit bids me kneel.

I keep praying -- when life seems so unfair.
I keep praying -- because I know He answers prayer.
I keep praying -- when the world around me falls,
I keep praying -- for He is my all in all.
The only reason I can even stand...
is I keep praying.

Sandy Knight wrote one for the Kingsmen ("You Keep Praying*"):

Does the step you take grow weary
Like you're walking all alone
Does the midnight hour seem darker
Is it hard to sing a song
Just take a tighter hold on hope
Breathe a prayer and don't let go
You just keep on praying
And you keep holding on.

You keep praying while God keeps moving
You keep praying on without a doubt
You keep knocking the door will open
You keep praying while God sends the answer down.

Sounds like good advice. Prayer really is the answer. When you feel you can't is when you most need to do it anyway.

Always remember that these kinds of difficulties are common in this life. The Lord knows all about them. Remember how He cried when Lazarus died? (John 11:35.) But "as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ" (2 Cor. 1:5). The Apostle Paul had a "thorn in flesh" that he even called "a messenger of Satan to buffet me." He asked the Lord to remove it — three times. But the Lord replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." So Paul said he took "pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12: 7-10). Our most difficult times can be used by God to strengthen our faith.

Becky Pell, another of our newsletter readers, was thinking of that Scripture and, having read here of the difficult times so many were facing, passed along something she had written — a wonderful reminder for the Christian whenever times are rough — or, for that matter, good:


- Paul

*Lyrics quoted with permission.
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