A Prayer for Desperation

by Heather Bock

I’m the kind of person who grows frustrated with devotional books, the kind with a few brief verses and a few paragraphs roughly on the same topic with a story thrown in at the beginning to catch the reader’s attention. They’re fine, nothing really wrong with them, but they often lack depth, especially modern ones. They’re more like light appetizers or desserts, and I want some meat and potatoes when I spend time with God. I want to really study His Word.

I’ll get up early if I need to, even though I’m no morning lark. I’ve been known to go to lengths to arrange my children’s differing nap schedules so they fall at the same time so I can have time to study God’s Word properly and have a good chunk of time for prayer. I find it to be important, so even if it doesn’t work out when I planned it, I can always move it back to the next available time the same day, and if that doesn’t work, move it to the next until I’m able to do it, even if that means staying up late.

I won’t say I always have the drive I’m describing–I have definitely gone through seasons where I’m not pursuing God as hard as this. However, generally I keep coming back to this type of pursuit. I need and crave the nearness of God, and He says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:8). I don’t know how else to personally draw near to Him besides talking to Him through prayer and reading His Word.

At least that’s the way I have been. Then I started fostering, and it knocked me sideways.

I dropped almost everything I had been doing: my book club, my prayer group, this blog, exercise, and on top of all that, my dedicated time of prayer and Bible study. I’ve had babies before that changed my schedule, but this newborn came with extra doctor’s visits, documentation, agency visits, CPS visits, WIC meetings, twice weekly parent visits, etc. Not knowing exactly what age child would come into our home beforehand, I also needed to quickly pull together all that a child needs (so, so thankful for the friends who helped me with this). I didn’t even do all that foster parents normally do: monthly visits with the foster child’s lawyer and attending court, but I was still working part-time, ferrying my kids to extracurricular activities, and homeschooling my boys, so it was a lot.

We were only privileged to care for our little one for two months. I believe I would have adjusted eventually to the new load and found the time to spend more time with God again. I would have also added exercise back in–I certainly need that for my sanity.

I did start reading short devotionals when I could–little tidbits here and there. I never dropped prayer–I was relying heavily on God for a lot–but my prayer looked a lot different. I wasn’t able to spend large chunks of time praying for the people in my life, only for those that came to mind as I went. But my prayers were desperate, more heart-felt than normal.

Is this why I didn’t at all feel that God was far away from me like I have felt when I’ve gone through seasons where I didn’t spend long amounts of time with Him? In fact, I felt His presence everywhere and in everything. Even the little snatches of Scripture I would read held infinite meaning and importance for me. I would beg for something, and He would answer powerfully and quickly. He filled my every need. He gave encouragement when I sorely needed it. Maybe even though I couldn’t physically be with Him, my heart was closer to Him than normal? This WAS my drawing near.

This verse penned by David comes to mind: “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:16-17).

It’s not that God didn’t ask the people in David’s day to sacrifice to Him. He did. They were to follow the Law. We ARE to dedicate time seeking Him in prayer and Bible study. But what is the state of our heart while we do it?

I recall now that several months before our foster baby came, I realized that a lot of my prayers were stilted, forced. I made the time for Him, but I didn’t have much feeling behind my words, not much connection. I started praying for that connection as I was prayer walking through the woods one morning a few months ago, for a passion to be lit in me.

Was fostering His answer to me? If so, how do I keep that desperation even when my life has become easier? This will be my prayer. I hope it will be yours, as well.

18 thoughts on “A Prayer for Desperation

  1. I completely resonate with your blog today Heather! It was in the times where my best laid plains went out the window & my cries for desperation were all I could give Him that I felt His powerful presence!! Love you friend♥️

    1. I just want to be that real and desperate for Him more often! I want that closeness always!

  2. This is such an important post, Heather. We find ourselves in a desperate place of prayer when we come to the end of ourselves. That’s when our walls come down and we allow God to draw close to us, which is what He wanted all along. Thank you for your transparent honesty.

    1. Yes, I agree that when it becomes rote is when we need to seek God face. It helped me when I asked Him!

  3. Loved this Ms. Heather. While I wish I could tell that my “God time” wad several uninterrupted hours with just me and God each morning; but that wouldn’t be truthful. I close my email and social media links during “God time”, but often find myself opening Outlook up to send an inspired word to someone I’m praying for at that moment; at the Spirit’s leading. I call it “Saving mt Amen”, but i leave the line open to God (so we can communicate at time throughout the day)m saving my close of prayer until I drift off to sleep each night..

    1. I like that thought—“saving my amen.” It’s good that you close things up that might distract you—that’s a great idea

  4. I’ve gone through all the seasons you describe. Desperate prayer is certainly the most heartfelt. The encouraging thing is God is always as close as we need Him to be. Best wishes on your journey!

    1. That’s true—I can lean on that and trust that even when I don’t feel like He’s near. We can definitely trust Him over our feelings

  5. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I know that in different seasons of my life, my prayer time and Bible reading time have looked equally different. But, I am reminded by your words that no matter my season, I should have a hunger and desperation for that genuine relationship with Him!

  6. I’ve learned that from those days I am able to spend quality time leaning into Christ and digging in His Word, I can pull much from the treasure chest of truth to linger with me on the days I can’t. And the enemy cannot guilt me when I have to forego the longer lingering in the Word I so desire. The deeper truths God has written on my heart will spill over into my crazy, upside down, everyday moments when the quiet time seems impossible. He always desires for us to “be present” with Him just as He’s always present with us. Just like you, Heather, my drawing near to Him looks different on different days, and He never disappoints when I do. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. I love this reminder that what we’ve invested in during our extra time will come back to help us when we need it—all the more reason to invest while we can!

  7. This is powerful, Heather! Over the past month, I have experienced a refreshing in my prayer life. A season of major change has driven me to our Father. On occasions, I could not spend as much time in prayer, like you described, but God made Himself known to me. When we desperate, God is near! Thanks for the reminder. Keep writing and God bless!

    1. Thank you! Yes, and I’m so thankful He clearly makes His nearness known when we need it the most!

  8. Love all of this! God is near to the broken-hearted! I constantly refer back to those verses on Psalms 51 where David is pouring out his honest, broken heart to God. Good reminder for all of us to be honest and broken before the Lord. I can only imagine the desperation and challenges in times of fostering. What a joy, though, that your family was able to be there for that baby for a God-ordained time.

    1. It really was a joy, and I look forward to when God sees fit to bring another one in our home for us to love!

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