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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Prayer's Power in Human Weakness

In deep silences, the Lord speaks into our hearts even when everything around us falls apart. Our weakness shouts at us and all we see is failure. A cacophony of shame and accusation, fear and doubt assails us. The voices of those who disdain us would be bad enough—but our own self-accusation seems to shake our core. How might we find Him, the One for who our hearts most long, our Savior and Deliverer when we are trapped and there seems no way out? Yet His voice is not silent. It whispers in gentle patience, inviting us out of chaos and into prayer.


Loneliness haunts us and alienation from even our closest friends when all our hopes are dashed. How true it is that we discover our true friends in the midst of crisis! In such times, those who we assumed would be most steadfast disappoint us. We feel abandoned and misunderstood—or else the object of someone's misguided charity project. Some actually want to relieve the plight and really do attempt to protect the dignity of the soul steeped in such misery... how few they are! Yet even these cannot bridge the abyss that yawns between the suffering soul and the rest of humanity. Such is death—this is what it means to be placed in the tomb.


Here, in this deepest darkness, the Word of the Father seems most absent. It is as if He let out his last wordless cry and breathed His last. At this moment, my soul and His soul are closest—united in the terrible mystery of death. This is where a new kind of whisper enters our hearts—a gentle movement so subtle that one never recognizes it until afterward. For there is a love that is stronger than death even if I cannot feel it. There is a reason for hope even if my mind cannot find it or my feel it. This is because He is with me always—even in the shadow of death, even as waves of weakness engulf me.


Prayer's power in human weakness reaches a perfection in total disaster and complete failure. Only those who have been gripped with acute anxiety and suffer utter catastrophe know this power. It is a power Christ shares with His closest friends, those who He trusts most of all. If you are such a soul, know that your feeblest act of faith and most humble effort to love makes space for God to reveal His life giving glory in a dying world—through your smallest sacrifice, life giving splendor reaches out where it is most needed. Christ Himself accomplished his greatest work when He was annihilated on the Cross—our salvation, and by faith your suffering is an extension of His saving work, raising up all human life in times when it is most needed.

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