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  • Writer's pictureChristian Insights 4 You

Unlocking God's Power in Tough Times

Updated: May 13

Description: Are you overwhelmed by life’s difficulties? In a world full of advice, remember the one eternal reality. Explore God’s power through prayer.


Tough times in life are something we all share. Even Jesus had to face moments of deep anguish. But be comforted. God's power is always greater than our challenges. In this blog, we explore how faith in prayer can transform our approach, and be our source of real strength in tough times.

There’s endless advice in just about every media telling us how to face tough times. Some of this advice is doubtlessly top-notch. It affirms our value as individuals, tells us how to be assertive, gives handy tips, and so on. Too often though, there’s one glaring omission. God isn’t mentioned.

Jesus had to face life and death tough times

Jesus himself was no stranger to tough times. The toughest came in Gethsemane, shortly before Judas arrived to betray him. He told Peter, James and John (the three disciples he had asked to stay with him) that he was overwhelmed with anguish (Matthew 26.38). Luke 22.44 tells us that Jesus was so distressed, it looked like he was sweating tears of blood. Jesus knew he was facing an utterly terrifying situation, yet he didn’t run away or give in to fear. He prayed all the more intently.

Crucially, Jesus wasn’t praying just because he was facing an extreme situation. We need only check the number of times the Bible tells us he went off by himself to pray. Prayer was his powerhouse. It nourished his relationship with his Father and attested to his Father’s will. A clear example and definite clue for us.

Jesus’ disciples act differently

The disciples' behaviour in Gethsemane contrasts sharply. For some time, Jesus had been preparing them for events that were about to unfold. The Gospels say that he’d told them several times that he was going to suffer and be killed. On this night – when darkness was about to reign – the disciples were tired and worn down with heartache (Luke 22.45). They fell asleep despite Jesus alerting them to their need to pray for the courage to withstand temptation.

The consequences became clear. When the hour came for Jesus to face his ultimate trial, intense prayer had given him comfort and the fortitude needed to complete his vital mission. The disciples hadn’t stayed awake. They hadn’t prayed. When their trial came, they fled in fear.

What about our tough times?

Few of us will ever be called upon to face anything like the situation Jesus faced, no matter how traumatic our current difficulties may seem. But it’s no use pretending life is easy. Terrible things continue to happen, day in, day out – and, sometimes, terrible situations land in our own unsuspecting laps.

When Moses was speaking to his people as they were about to enter the Promised Land, he told them that the Lord was their shield, helper and triumphal sword (Deuteronomy 33.29). Given the ordeals life can throw at us, this kind of assurance may have a hollow ring, so what exactly can we hope to be shielded from?

In no way was Jesus shielded from crucifixion in the sense that the cross and all his troubles suddenly vanished. Yet he was shielded nonetheless. Prayer provided that shield. Through prayer, he was able to share his deep anguish. Through prayer, he could feel the reassurance of God’s presence. He knew without an atom of doubt that God was with him. His unshakeable relationship with his Father gave him the support, encouragement and comfort he needed.

Prayer is our shield

It can be the same for us. We can be shielded from feeling alone, unguided, vulnerable, worried, and be filled with confidence that – no matter the situation – God is in control; that his will, will be done.

Importantly, Jesus nourished his relationship with his Father all the time. Just as he didn’t neglect prayer until faced with a crisis, neither should we. This is definitely not to say that God won’t welcome cries for help from people who have rarely, if ever, prayed. We have only to think of Jesus’ parables about wandering sheep and the temporarily lost second son. The key point is that, by praying, we increasingly understand that God wants to be our shield; that he will help; that he will slice through our tough times - even if the way he slices is the last way we expect.

But what if we still feel helpless; feel that nothing is happening? What if we fear that God isn’t listening? Perhaps we should remember that even in his utter distress, Jesus saw the bigger picture and was obedient. He trusted that his Father’s actions would be for the best.

If we still have doubts, it’s a good idea to think back and remind ourselves of past prayers. When we do this, it’s often far easier to see the ways in which God has positively and graciously responded. Some people keep prayer diaries for exactly this reason, although such journals can be valuable in a host of other ways, such as reflecting on spiritual growth over time. Essentially, though, having a brief note of the things we’ve prayed about can be comforting and reassuring in tough times, as we’ll be able to see more clearly how God has answered and blessed us.

One last thought

Our power is limited, God’s isn’t. He can do anything. What we can’t see, he can. His sights are always set on our best interests – not necessarily on what we want or expect. This means that he can make a way where there is no way. Sometimes all it takes is the humility to ask for help and the faith to trust in our Heavenly Father.

The Armour of God

For more about the way God shields us, click the blue button below to read the Christian Insights 4 You blog: What is the Armour of God?


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