Prayers during hard times

Inside: Prayer during difficult times can sometimes seem impossible. But really it’s the key to victory. Prayer defeats the enemy. Here are 7 keys to becoming a prayer warrior.

Sometimes I struggle with prayer during difficult times. I mean I know that I need to pray. I know that prayer changes things. But sometimes I just don’t know where to start.  When the hard times come I don’t always have time to create a prayer strategy.

My emotions often overwhelm me. Even to the point where I cannot pray.  If you are anything like me I bet you can relate. No worries though I’ve got you covered.  (If you are struggling to know how to pray you might want to check out my FREE guide: How to Pray Your Way to Victory)

Over the years I have learned a few things about prayer during difficult times: how to create a prayer strategy,  overcoming obstacles to prayer and spiritual growth and more.  I share all these things right here on the blog. You will find a little of my personal testimony mixed in with practical tips, encouragement and the occasional kick in the butt (all with love of course).

prayers during hard times

The Ultimate Guide to Prayer During Hard Times

When the hard times come, it’s critical that we know how to fight the enemy.  The Bible is clear that all Christians have an enemy in the devil. He walks around looking for someone to devour and destroy. He is on a kill mission. And you my friend have a target on your back.

I know that can be daunting to wrap our minds around. especially when our world is crumbling around us. But fear not, we are not without hope and a way out. Prayer during hard times is the way that we defeat that enemy.

I was saved before I could ride my bike without training wheels. I loved God and I knew that He loved me and that carried me through my younger years. But when the devil came knocking on my door I needed more. And honestly, I was lost and confused …. easy prey.

It was during the hardest season of my life that I finally learned how to fight back against the schemes of the enemy.  Once I learned this one thing I found more peace in my chaos and I also stopped running myself into the ground trying to fix things that were beyond my abilities.

I had to embrace my inner prayer warrior if I was going to win this battle. And that is exactly what you need to do as well.

7 Keys to Becoming a Prayer Warrior

Spiritual warfare is real. When you are praying during hard times you are engaging in war against the enemy of your soul.  It’s not something that is talked about a lot in churches these days and I have to wonder if that is why so many of God’s children have no idea how to fight back.

Paul gives us the battle plan to becoming a prayer warrior and defeating the devil in spiritual warfare: putting on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-19)

Key #1: Understanding the Enemy

In war, much time is spent gathering intel on the enemy.  It benefits you to understand who/what you are up against. How do they think? Where do they like to hang out? How do they like to attack?

We need to understand these things about the devil as well. He definitely has a specific plan for each of us and he knows us well. If you are going to have victory in prayer you need to return the favor. We have to see with our spiritual eyes if we are going to recognize the enemy and his attacks. This requires discernment from Heaven.

One of the easiest ways to get to know someone is to learn their name. In scripture, names do more than just identify a person. Names speak to their nature and character.  Let’s look at a few verses that speak to Satan’s character:

  • Satan is The Accuser who walks the earth looking to see what kind of trouble he can cause (Job 1:6)
  • Satan loves to point out your mistakes and sins to destroy your confidence and burden you with guilt and shame (Revelation 12:10)
  • Satan is the Father of Lies – deception is his game. He wants us in the dark about who God is and who we are in Christ (John 8:44)

Those are just a few to get you started. Knowing Satan’s character helps us to spot his attacks and know how to pray against his schemes.

Read more: 3 Ways Satan Wants to Destroy you During a Crisis

Key #2: Standing in God’s Truth

It’s tempting to be frightened by the devil’s schemes and plans. It doesn’t have to be.  Nothing he throws at you stands a chance against the truth of the Gospel.

Everything that we need to fight the devil through prayer during hard times can be found in the truth of God’s word.  The Bible tells us that when we believe in Jesus Christ that truth is what sets us free.

When the Father of Lies begins to tell you that you are too messed up for God to care or come to your rescue, the truth says that there is nothing that could separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38).

The truth can also protect us. When we know the truth found in God’s word we won’t be easily fooled by the enemy when he tries to deceive us. We can use scripture to help us pray against these attacks before they come.

Looking for some help praying scripture?

  • The Importance of Praying God’s Promises
  • How to Grow Spiritually through Prayer During Hard Times

Key #3: Walking in Righteousness

When we believe the truth of the Gospel God adopts us into His family. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are new creatures in Christ.  We live our lives the way that the Bible instructs.

Walking in righteousness is simply living out scriptures commands in everyday life. Does this mean that we do this perfectly every day? Nope.

It’s a process. Scripture calls this sanctification. It’s how we become more like Jesus.

Scripture is clear about the blessings that come from walking in obedience to the Lord. When we misstep we step out from the protection of God and we become easy targets for the enemy.

What does this have to do with prayer during hard times?

Satan is an accuser, remember? That means that he is just waiting for you to make a mistake so he can throw it in your face over and over again.  Because when you are focused on that stuff you often either forget to pray or stop praying completely.

God is perfect, but He doesn’t expect you to be. When you misstep take that as an opportunity to seek God more in prayer. Don’t let the enemy have victory over you in this area.

A few more encouraging words: 

  • The Key to being Persistent in Prayer
  • Why Your Prayers aren’t Working
  • 4 Secrets to Praying during Trials

Key #4: Having the Peace of God

The number one thing that we long for during hard times is peace. Just a moment where everything is right in our world and we don’t have to worry about anything.  That rarely happens.

There is a slight misunderstanding when it comes to peace during life’s storms. We tend to think that when we pray for peace God will step in and make all the bad stuff go away so we can have peace.

He can, but he doesn’t.

In the story of Peter walking on the water, how does God save him from drowning? Does He tell the storm to stop so that Peter is no longer afraid? Does He part the sea so that Peter can stand on dry land?

No. God does not make all the scary things go away for Peter. He simply reaches down and pulls Him out. He allows Peter to feel His presence.

In those hard moments when we cry out for peace, God offers us the same thing. He comes to our side and He sits there in the pain, the chaos, and the hard stuff with us.

When it comes to prayer for peace during the hard times don’t look for all the bad stuff to go away. Instead, offer prayers of thanks to God for all that He has done and then trust that He will work the rest out in His perfect timing.

Some other encouraging posts to help you hold onto peace:

  • The Key to being Persistent in Prayer
  • 3 Things to Remember When You Go Through a Trial

Key #5: Standing Firm in Faith

God often uses hard times to grow our faith.  I bet if you are like me, you spend a lot of time talking to God when you need Him to come to your rescue.   When things are going great we don’t always have that same urgency when it comes to praying and spending time with God.

No worries, He knows how to get our attention!

Please don’t take that mean that God is out there creating chaos in your life. He doesn’t work like that. But He will use something awful to draw you closer to Him. That’s just one way that He brings good out of bad stuff.

Paul says that our faith is like a shield. We can hold it up to stop the attacks of the enemy. This battle usually takes place in our mind: doubt, fear, and unbelief.

Our trials go on longer than we thought they would and we begin to wonder if God is actually going to do what He said He would. When you have thoughts like this focus your prayers on reminding yourself of all the reasons that you have to trust God’s promises.

Need more help standing strong in faith?

  • How to Hold onto HOPE when you want to Quit
  • How to Stand Firm on God’s Promises
  • Why God Allows Suffering in Our Lives

Key #6: The Assurance of Salvation

Salvation is a beautiful gift from God. Sometimes we think that all it does is keep us from spending an eternity in hell. My sisters, it’s so much more than that.

Salvation is about restoring you to what you were created to be. A daughter of the King of Kings.  It’s how God is able to make all the bad things work for our good and His glory.

If you are going to embrace the call of a prayer warrior then you must protect your identity in Christ.  Prayer during hard times needs to focus on all the things that are yours in Christ. Here’s a few to get you started:

  • You are completely forgiven (Colossians 1:14)
  • You are born of God and the evil one cannot touch you (1 John 5:18)
  • You are not bound by fear because you have the spirit of power, love and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7)
  • You have power over the enemy and nothing shall hurt you (Luke 10:19)

Read this next: Why Your Identity in Christ Matters During Hard Times

Key #7: The Power of Scripture and Prayer

This last one is really part of all the other keys. But I wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss this one because it’s important.

A true prayer warrior spends time in God’s word and in prayer.  We cannot find victory in prayer during hard times if we don’t pray. And we won’t be effective in our prayers if we don’t spend time in the Word of God.

If you need some practical tips and encouragement on establishing a quiet time all my best stuff is right here: The Ultimate Guide to Quiet Time with God

You will also get our weekly Women Finding God Newsletter full of encouragement and tips on how to grow closer to God during hard times. We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Click here to read more in our Privacy Policy.

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Prayer during hard times is key to spiritual growth. If you are going to make it through your trial it’s going to take every ounce of faith you have. There will be days when you want to quit, days when you think you are going to lose your mind, and days when you are sure you have reached your limit.

As long as we are on this side of heaven there will be trials and hard times. God is always there but sometimes we feel alone on the journey.

I have personal experience walking through each of these four stages of spiritual growth. The times I’ve spent in prayer during hard times have been the seasons where my faith grew the most. It has not been easy but it has always been well worth the pain and struggles. I like to think of this journey like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.

I’m going to use the life cycle of a butterfly to describe each of the stages of spiritual growth. Let’s see where you may be in your journey.

prayers during hard times

Before the Journey Begins

You are living life unaware of how hard things really are. Yes, you are struggling with a few things but that’s just a part of life. One day you are doing just fine and the next a spilled cup of cereal sends you over the edge. It’s like the rug has been pulled out from under you and you never saw it coming.

This is typically the point where you begin to try to fix things for yourself. Things can’t really be all that bad; it’s just a bad day or week. If you just figure out where you went wrong then you can correct it and get back on course. There’s just one problem. The more you try to make things right the worse they get.

This is usually the point where you realize you are in over your head. You know that you need to focus on praying during this hard time but you aren’t sure where to start. You aren’t sure how to pray or if God is even listening. You spend a lot of time telling God that you’re giving things over to Him but you also spend just as much time taking them back.

Eventually, you get to the point where you just can’t take it anymore. There’s nothing more you can do so you give up. When you reach your breaking point that’s when God can finally step in and take over.

This is when the journey from despair to deliverance begins.

STAGE ONE: ARISE

(CATERPILLAR EGGS ARE LAID)

This stage is hard. It involves a complete shift in mindset. You have to stop believing the lies about yourself, God, and the enemy. You’ll spend a lot of time crying and questioning everything that you thought you knew about God and His plans for you. This is a great time to start journaling. Write down everything you think you know about God, yourself, the enemy, and your circumstance. Then start reading what the Bible has to say about each one.

I remember when I first started to really understand who God is and what that meant for me and my situation. I was frustrated at all the things I didn’t know. I was angry about the abuse I’d gone through and all the lies I’d been fed about myself and my God. That anger fueled my desire for the truth. The more I learned, the more peace and strength I gained.

When a butterfly lays its eggs you can already see the caterpillar inside. It hasn’t hatched yet but you can already see what it will become. The eggs are also laid on a leaf so that they have what they need to grow when they hatch.

This is the stage where you need to embrace your identity as a prayer warrior. I know that you may not feel like a warrior but you are. You already have everything you need to make it through this trial. God has already equipped you with the weapons you need to win this war.

prayers during hard times

STAGE TWO: GROW

(THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR)

This stage is characterized by a lot of spiritual growth and biblical disciplines. Once you embrace your identity as a prayer warrior you are ready to learn the basics on prayer during hard times. This is when you need to be in the Word daily, reading, studying and memorizing scripture. This is when you need to be praying daily and reaching out to your community. 

Caterpillars don’t stay in this stage for very long. All they do is eat and eat and eat. Preparing for the time when they begin to transform into a butterfly.

I couldn’t get enough of God during this time in my journey. I wanted to read and pray and be in church all the time. The more I learned about God the more I wanted to learn. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I began to dig really deep into the Truth and I finally started to feel free.

Learning how to study the Word for myself meant that no one could ever use scripture to control or abuse me ever again. Memorizing verses meant that I could stand up to the enemy when he tried to paralyze me with fear. Being a part of a community meant that I was no longer isolated and alone. I found my strength. I found my voice. And I found my fight.

STAGE THREE: FIGHT

(CATERPILLAR GOES INTO A CHRYSALIS AND BEGINS TO TRANSFORM)

I’m going to be really honest here and tell you that stage three is hard. I read somewhere that when a butterfly goes into its chrysalis it has to completely liquify itself as part of the transformation. It becomes completely undone and unrecognizable before it becomes beautiful.

This is the stage where you have to really put up or shut up. Are you going to believe God and stand on His Word or are you going to quit?

This is when you have to face all your demons and doubts. This is when you have to learn to take every thought captive and manage your emotions for good. You have to face your fears, doubts, and feelings of overwhelm and shame.

When things seem to go from bad to worse you have to keep trusting and keep standing. You have to remember all the things you learned in stages one and two. They will carry you through this hard stage. In my experience, stage three lasts the longest. But it’s also where you will see the most growth.

prayers during hard times

STAGE FOUR: DREAM

(Butterfly Emerges and Flies Away)

This is the stage where you can start to breathe a little. You may still be in the middle of your trial but you are confident that you will have the victory. You know who you are and whose you are. You have conquered your emotions and battled doubts. At this point, you are at peace knowing that God is in control.

You are ready to start dreaming and hoping again! And the sky is the limit. You are not afraid to ask God for the impossible because you know that with Him all things are possible.

My favorite part about this stage is being able to encourage others. Sharing your testimony is a great way to help those who are in the first three stages to keep pressing in and holding on. You can show others how prayer during hard times is key to spiritual growth and victory.

What stage are you in?

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prayers during hard times

A Prayer for Peace During Hard Times
By Lysa Terkeurst

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big situation in your life where you just couldn’t process why God would allow this to happen? Maybe it’s one of your young children having behavioral issues that seems crazy complicated and daunting. Or one of your older children having issues with addictions and devastating life choices. Or your husband being distant or possibly even destructive in making choices that are harming your marriage. Or another year of singleness that brings you wave after wave of grief, while watching others celebrating the gift of true love.

prayers during hard times

It’s so tempting to wallow in the “why.”

Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us further from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question.

If asking the why question doesn’t offer hope, what will? The what question. In other words: “Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?”

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

I like to call this verse, “Directions on Where to Park My Mind.” Switching from the why to the what questions paves the road to parking our minds in a much better place. Is it always easy? No. But is it a way to find a perspective beyond situations where we feel God has allowed something in our lives we don’t understand and we absolutely don’t like? Yes, it is, and I pray this helps you today. Because even if our circumstances aren’t good, we can trust God’s purpose always is.

Dear Lord, I want to process everything I face in life through the filter of Your love. I know You love me. But sometimes it’s just hard to understand the circumstances that come my way. I find myself consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Thank You for this new way to look at things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “Why Did This Happen, God?,” written by Lysa Terkeurst. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.

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A week or so ago I put together a massive post with well over a hundred bible verses about money and talked about how we need to make sure that we always put God first in our lives before money – and everything else.

We can easily allow money to become our master, and God can quickly move to the background if we’re not careful.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

One thing that occurred to me in the midst of listing all those verses, however, is that I never really touched on a topic that seems to be especially important right now in the midst of a double dip recession when so many people are having a hard time.  The idea of looking to God for strength in the midst of hard times.

Bible Verses About Strength

prayers during hard times

Today I decided to bring together some encouraging and challenging verses talking about how and where we need to find strength in the midst of turbulent times. I hope you find them uplifting as well.

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Where Do We Find Strength?

Where do we find our strength? In the Lord our God!

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him—  my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 34:10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!

Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Exodus 33:14 My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

Isaiah 30:15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

Don’t Worry Or Fear, Find Your Strength In Him

It can be so easy to give into worry, fear and despair, but with Him we can find strength, and look forward to wonderful things.  He gives us hope!

Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Luke 12:25-26 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 27: 1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me,it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;though war break out against me,even then I will be confident.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 145: 18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

God Gives Us A Spirit Of Strength And Power

Through faith in Christ we are given a spirit of power, love and discipline, and for that reason we have nothing to fear.  We can hold onto his promises and be confident that he’ll see us through even the darkest of days.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Psalm 138:3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.

Psalm 91:1-2 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.”

Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.

Hard Times May Come, But He’s There With Us Through Them All

Though we aren’t promised an easy life, we are told that Christ will be there with us when we believe in Him, that he won’t give us more than we can handle with His help,  and even our hard times can be used to glorify God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Philippians 4: 12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

1 Peter 5: 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Hebrews 4:16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Deuteronomy 31:6,8 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

 Strength In Christ Our Lord And Savior

As the verses above illustrate, we’re told to call on Jesus Christ, and that he will hear us and give us strength, hope and a grace sufficient to carry us through.  He will be our ever present help when we’re in need, and he can give us a peace that passes all understanding.  For me that’s extremely encouraging.

How about you?  Do you have any favorite bible verses about strength, and where you can find it? Did one of the verses above stick out more than the others for you?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Want to find more verses on Strength in the Bible and don’t have your own? Get a free Bible.

  • Bible Verses About Money
  • Bible Verses About Faith
  • Bible Verses About Hope
  • Bible Verses About Investing
  • Bible Verses of Encouragement
  • Bible Verses About How To Get Rich Quick
  • Bible Verses About Contentment
  • Bible Verses About Thanksgiving & Appreciation
  • Bible Verses About Worry
  • Bible Verses About Overcoming Adversity, Struggles And Hardship
  • Bible Verses About Wealth

prayers during hard times



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