Prayers for Workers: When God Seems Not to Hear Your Prayers

By Mark D. Roberts

October 30, 2020

Scripture – Psalm 35:22-23 (NRSV)

You have seen, O LORD; do not be silent!
+++O Lord, do not be far from me!
Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense,
+++for my cause, my God and my Lord!


There are times when it seems as if God is not hearing our prayers. How do we pray in times like these? The biblical psalms teach us to speak openly with God, not holding back a thing. We are encouraged by the example of the psalms to cry out, to lament, to worry, even to doubt. God, who knows our hearts, invites us to tell him everything.


O Lord, my situation at work has been so draining, so discouraging. You know all about it, of course, not only because you know all things, but also because I’ve been telling you about it, again and again. I worry that you’re getting tired of my persistence in prayer.

Is that why you seem so distant, Lord? Have I tired you out? Is that why you don’t seem to answer when I cry out to you? It feels like you’re not even listening. Or, worse, that you’re listening but don’t care about me. My faith tells me otherwise. I believe you love me and care about my life. But sometimes it’s hard to hang on when you are so silent, so seemingly inattentive.

Thank you for the encouragement of Psalm 35. The psalm writer knows just how I’ve been feeling. He has cried out to you for help and wondered why you’re so quiet. He speaks to you in a way that would seem to be completely out of line, except it’s right here in Scripture. “Wake up!” he exclaims, “Bestir yourself for my defense” (Psalm 35:23). Wow! I don’t know that I’d be bold enough to insist that you wake up. But, honestly, that’s exactly how I feel sometimes.

So, in this time of desperation, your Word teaches me to tell you exactly what’s on my mind and heart, without holding back. Thank you for the example of the psalms, their honesty and gutsiness, for their utter humanness as well as their divine inspiration. Thank you for the supporting affirmation in Hebrews, where it says that because of Jesus our high priest, we can approach your “throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Boldness! Telling the whole truth. Not holding back.

Standing on the foundation of Scripture and exercising my freedom in Christ, I cry out to you today for help. Wake up, Lord! Hear my cry. Help me in my time of need. Bestir yourself. Contend for me. Rescue me. May the time come soon when those around me cry out, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant” (Psalm 35:27).

Ponder Throughout the Day

You don’t have to hold back when you pray. God, who knows everything in your heart, invites you to be completely honest. Tell God exactly what you think and feel, exactly what you need from him. Take hold of the boldness that is yours because of Christ. You can be completely honest with God.

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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Wake Up, Lord!

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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