Prayer and feelings

There are some times in my life when I’ve felt an utter frenzy about the thing I’m praying for. I’m not talking about “Dear God, please let me prove winning the lottery won’t ruin me!” but things that are good in their own right.

After this happened a few times, I began to recognize the pattern: I feel called to start praying for X; X is a huge deal so I expect it to take a long time; after several weeks I begin to get very emotional about X; I realize X is not going to happen; I feel frenzied and rejected.

I didn’t think about it much until someone whose prayer life I respect said something similar, that she began feeling a certain frenzy under a specific set of circumstances. (I’m being deliberately vague here.) Only when she described those circumstances, my first thought was that she wasn’t being influenced by the Holy Spirit. The more we talked about it, the more we realized what she’d felt was a demonic attack.

Over the past two years, I’ve become intimately familiar with a tactic by the Enemy that isn’t obvious at first: it’s what Ivy called “the tragedy of good versus good.” Basically, the Enemy tempts you with something good.

In the scenario I’m most familiar with, two people with good intentions become logjammed because they can’t both get what they want. They both believe in their cause, and they know it’s a good thing (the world is full of good causes) but they end up struggling with one another because their good causes are mutually exclusive in this one instance. I can’t imagine anything would amuse the Enemy more than watching two good-hearted people torn apart in this fashion. There’s nothing to repent of, nothing to apologize for, and yet it’s brutally frustrating.

I’m beginning to connect this prayer-frenzy to the same situation: I’m praying for something good, and yet it’s something God doesn’t want us to have. When God says no, it’s frustrating and confusing and scary. Why would God prompt me to pray for something only to say no?

But the fact that I want the thing so much and get heated inside… Could that be a sign that it’s not God who wanted it at all? The one emotion the Enemy cannot fake is peace.

Last year, I wanted something huge. I prayed over it, of course, but not with that frenzy. Even believing it was impossible — even feeling crushed by the enormity of the events surrounding the request — there was no frenzy. And by the end of the year, something that looked impossible in January was a reality.

I’m praying for something huge right now. This entry happened at all because I realized I’m not frenzied. I’m not frustrated. I’m not scared God is going to say no; in fact, I expect the answer is no. And oddly, that leaves me more convinced than I can explain that I should, in fact, be praying for it.

I was wondering if anyone else experienced that “frenzy,” that urgent need, that sense that it all depends on you and your prayers and if only you “pray right” then it will happen. Because I think I’m onto something here, and it’ll help in the long run to know what, or whom, I’m dealing with.

And on a quickie note here: my romantic comedy is at a crossroads this week. Please say a prayer that this works out for the best? Thanks.


  1. Ivy

    Yes, once. I woke up in the middle of the night praying, fervently praying, for 1 oz of Koigu sock yarn. I didn’t know why. I had no idea what I could even make with 1 oz of sock yarn. It takes more that than to make a pair of adult socks after all. But the intensity of the prayer woke me up.

    I actually got the yarn, and that was just in time to find out that a charity group was desperate for socks for infants. Those can be made with just 1 oz of sock yarn. I’m not sure why that particular assignment came to me that way, but it felt just like the kind of frenzy you’re talking about.

    I could believe it was a demon, though, pushing for a kind of meaningless prayer and pointless materialism, and that the prayer was not only blessed, but granted meaning, so that the demon’s own efforts were turned to the good. Because for one thing, I found out about the charity after I got the yarn and for another, I already had enough sock yarn in stash to knit the socks without the extra yarn.