Pray Through the Dark, Even When You’re Not Sure Now

pray through the dark

As I listened to my son tap the keys on the piano, a smile enveloped my face. He was role-playing, and the audience encircled the bench where he sat.

“Now, I’m going to play you a song you may have heard before….” he said, placing his fingers across the keys.

I leaned against the wall, soaking in the rhythm, not wanting to interrupt this moment. The notes of Yankee Doodle filled the house for the twentieth time that day, but surprisingly, I wasn’t tired of hearing it.

“That was perfect,” I said when the concert was over. And it was. Pride beamed from his face as he started the second and only other piece he knew.

In an instant, I realized how alike my son and I were. Even at seven, he had an innate desire to be seen. To be applauded for his efforts and acknowledged for a job well done.

He continued playing not only because he loved music, but because he loved the applause. I sat there with him until he was done, wanting him to know I saw the time and energy he put into making those notes soar.

Over the past few months, I had lost my bearings and found myself questioning whether anything I did had meaning or purpose. I knew God had called me to lead in ministry, to write and to share with others through stories, but my lack of progress left me feeling discouraged, wondering if I’d lost my way.

Since I didn’t see results, I concluded there were none. But often the real progress takes place below the surface, in the areas we don’t see.

lighthouse 3

As I fumbled through the darkness, my prayers seemed to go nowhere. Instead of feeling the closeness to God I craved, it was as though he’d taken a vacation. I knew He would never leave me or forsake me, but I longed for the intimacy I once felt.

Often at a loss for what to do, I continued praying. Even when I wasn’t sure what to say, I brought my words before the Lord.

I prayed for wisdom and direction. I prayed my life would be a light to others and bring glory and honor to his name.

When we pray through the dark, God can use our words as evidence of his Light.

One day as buds formed on the trees outside, I received an email from the coordinator of a ministry where I volunteered. She was following up on an inquiry and wanted to let me know about praise report she’d received. A member of the critique group I led had emailed them, thanking them for the community and commending my work.

As I scanned over the words, my eyes filled with tears. I thanked God for his grace and sovereignty, even when I doubted. I thanked Him for his power to move, even when my progress seemed stagnant.

Although I couldn’t see God through all the months of uncertainty, he was still working. When I didn’t see progress, he was still using me and moving through me. I continued in obedience to his call, and He was faithful to do what only He could do.

Friend, if you’re in a season where you can’t see growth and you question whether God is still using you, can I encourage you to come before Him in prayer? God will use those words muttered in the dark for his glory.

Pray through the uncertainty and I can assure you of this: God will show up.

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20 thoughts on “Pray Through the Dark, Even When You’re Not Sure Now

  1. Oh Abby, I’m in that place more often than I care to admit. I know this call is real, but yes, I’m often fumbling around in the dark. I want what I do to matter – and in this ministry thing, you just never know this side of heaven without feedback. It’s a luxury to receive it and I’m so grateful that God leaves breadcrumbs along the path. Your writing touches me and I’m thankful to have connected through #rara. Don’t stop sweet friend. Somebody’s picking up what you’re laying down:)

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  2. Abby: I needed these words of encouragement! Thank you for using your God given talents to Minister to others! Love, Dad

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  3. Amen! I too have felt at times that God wasn’t as close to me as He was before. But through prayer, I came closer to Him. Thank you for sharing and for your beautiful words!

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  4. This. Is. Lovely. Thank you for your transparency and encouragement through your own struggles, Abby! I love this statement: “When we pray through the dark, God can use our words as evidence of his Light.” YES!!! I’ve been in a similar place very recently, and can so relate. Thankful for His light! #livefreeThursday

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  5. Thank you, Abby, for being so transparent. It makes me feel less alone. I often wonder whether I have meaning or purpose. Just by writing your blog posts, you definitely are making a huge difference in our lives. You are so special to God and to me. 🙂 Blessings and hugs to you!

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  6. Abby,
    I’m so thankful that God here’s my mutterings and even the groans of the Holy Spirit when I have no words. So many times He’s seemed silent…but behind the scenes, He’s always working!! When I get letters like the one you received, I keep them in a special file in my desk. When I feel like I’m not making a difference or my life is not “adding value” to this world…I go and I pull one of those letters out and realize that I’m being unusually hard on myself…I’m guessing the same goes for you??? Here’s to keeping an “applause” file handy…you ARE making a difference and I always LOVE reading your writing…you, Abby, are the real deal!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    • Me too, Bev. Me too. There have been so many times I’ve had to trust the Holy Spirit knew, even when I didn’t. Thanks for your love and encouragement, friend. You are a blessing in my life!

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  7. Sweet Girl, I read your Blog and each and every time I tell myself that I won’t cry but your words are so real and true and touch a place in my heart that I have allowed few to enter. Thank you Abby for loving my Son and for being such a wonderful woman of God, our Grandchildren are blessed not only for the Father and Mother that God has place them with on earth but with parents that have instilled the love and teachings of their Father in heaven. We love you Honey, continue growing in the wonderful writing Gift that God has given you for it touches so many hearts and souls.

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  8. Abby, you took me back to my own days as a boy, plunking on the piano. And then as a young teen, my youth pastor invited me to join the worship band… and that’s where I learned to “pray in the dark.” Playing piano became worship, became prayer. May your boy find the same joy in playing for the Lord–for that audience of One–and may he find strength to play/pray in the dark.
    Cheers,
    Dave

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  9. Abby – you are always an encouragement to me and I am so grateful for you. It’s beautiful to me that even though we’ve never physically met, God has connected our hearts through His Word and our shared love for words. Thank you for sharing your experience with wondering if you still had purpose. I think as women, many of us go through those seasons more often than we admit. It’s encouraging to find someone else whose “been there” and can speak of God’s faithfulness.

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