Life

Jun 01, 2016 by Will Maule

We Need To Stop Telling People To "Pray Harder" When They Are Hurting

It is a shallow and hurtful response, loaded with prejudice over that the person in question's relationship with God. "Pray harder," may be some people's only available compassion when someone undertakes the humbling task of disclosing a difficult thing in their life. But this is such a terrible thing to say, and belittles their struggle, without taking the time to understand it. Jarrid Wilson addresses this issue.

Wilson recalls sharing that he was struggling with depression with a small group of Christians at a youth group, and remembers the blank stares he was met with in response. "To my surprise, it seemed that not even the small-group leader knew how to handle my honest response to his question, and his reaction to my cry for help is something I have never forgotten. He looked at me and said, 'Well, Jarrid, I’d encourage you to just pray harder. God will take care of it,'" he writes.

"When you tell someone who is hurting 'You just need to pray harder,' what you’re really saying is, 'You’re not praying hard enough'—which in itself is a false depiction towards the way God moves in the lives of everyday people," Wilson asserts. God does not answer prayers based on how much we pray, or by how we articulate those prayers. 

"I know he was trying to give me advice that pointed back to Jesus, but his advice fell short on many levels," writes Wilson. "Regardless if someone is well-equipped to handle every situation they are thrown in life, I believe the statement, 'Just pray harder' is something that should be used with extreme caution and understanding."

Sometimes, that sort of response is on account of laziness, and an unwillingness to deal with the gritty reality of someone else's problems. We need to change this attitude, and pray for grace in doing so. "We must be willing to help people in their journey of pain and hurt, not pawn them off to Jesus because it’s easier than spending time with someone who needs you."

"Prayer is a powerful weapon, but 'Just pray harder' without follow-up is horrible advice."

Read the full article here.



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