One of the reasons we need to pray is so that we don't lose heart. We all do sometimes. We lose heart whenever frustration, tiredness, fear, and helplessness in the face of life's humiliations conspire together to paralyse our energies, deaden our resiliency, drain our courage, and leave us feeling weak in depression, writes Ron Rolheiser.
Poet Jill Alexander Essbaum, gives us a poignant example of this in her poem, Easter. Reflecting on the joy that Easter should bring into our lives, she shares that Easter can instead be a season of defeat for us because its celebration of joy can highlight the shortcomings of our own lives and leave us with the feeling that: Everyone I've ever loved lives happily just past my able reach.
And this feeling can drive us to our knees, in bitterness or prayer; hopefully prayer.
There are many examples in scripture of men and women being driven to mountaintops or to their knees in prayer because they are paralyzed by fear, discouragement, or loneliness. For our purposes, I will highlight two, highly illustrative, examples of this.
We see an example of praying so as not to lose heart in the prophet, Elijah, when he is being threatened because of his prophetic message. Elijah had been a true and a courageous prophet, but at one point in his ministry he became dangerously disconsolate.
His own people had ceased listening to his message, he had witnessed some of his fellow prophets being martyred, and his message had deeply upset Jezebel, the most powerful woman in the kingdom, who had now sent out men to kill him. To flee Jezebel, Elijah climbed up Mount Horeb.
However as he retreated into a cave, he was confronted by God's voice, asking him what he was doing there. Elijah confessed his discouragement, his fear of losing his life, and his loss of heart. Having confessed his fears, Elijah retreated into the darkness of the cave, to sit paralyzed in his own fear and depression.
FULL STORY Praying so as not to lose heart (Ron Rolheiser)