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Losing Hope Prayer: Restoring Lost Hope through Personal Prayer

This Losing Hope Prayer will help you communicate with God to restore hope when you are in a difficult life situation and your hope is failing.  Losing hope prayer is vital because without hope, we can’t survive or thrive.   Hope is defined as the belief that something good can eventually happen or that a situation can improve or change.

Why we lose hope

We start to lose hope when things don’t change or when we don’t see any remedy that will work.  We lose hope when we believe the odds are against us or when we have no strength or resources left.

There are many different situations that cause us to lose hope.  These include chronic health problems, medical prognosis, job loss, marital problems or divorce, depression and mental health problems, money difficulties, legal problems, wayward and troubled family members, addiction, bullying, career setbacks, terrorism, discrimination, trauma, abuse, death of a loved one, loss of a home, physical or mental handicaps, injustice etc.

Important! If you feel like you’ve lost all hope seek immediate emergency professional help.  If you are feeling totally depressed or are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, seek immediate professional help or call a suicide hotline.  This is a treatable medical condition and professional help will stabilize you.  This emergency crisis help will put you on track to begin a step by step process toward greater hope.

Ways Hope is renewed

Hope can be renewed through two means – through outside sources and through inner renewal.

Examples of outside sources that renew hope include improvements in your situation, a new idea of another solution to try, an encouraging word from someone who has gotten through a similar situation or through a good report.

Because you are reading this Losing Hope Prayer, it’s likely that outside sources aren’t making you hopeful.  Instead, outside sources are causing you to lose hope.  Circumstances get worse.  Experts, friends and society tell you that your odds for a good outcome are very low.  Statistics and scientific research are discouraging and bleak.  You may be fearful about what bad things will happen next.

In such cases, hope must be regained from the second source – through inner mental, emotional and spiritual renewal.  Hope is renewed through inner means by consciously acknowledging you’re low on hope and then turning toward God as a source of help, comfort, guidance and strength.

 The Losing Hope Prayer

This Losing Hope Prayer is a guided prayer where you fill in the blanks in the prayer by describing to God your specific circumstances.  This prayer is broken down into sections, with a few paragraphs introducing the subject of each section.  The section ends with thoughts to start your conversation with God on that subject.  You can pray silently or out loud, or you can write down your prayer.

Prayer subject one: The most recent thing that caused you to lose hope. 

Begin your prayer by describing the most recent thing that has caused you to lose hope.  Read the guided prayer idea then interact with God by filling in the blank with your specific circumstances.

I personally needed my own Losing Hope Prayer because a family member had many serious problems and they refused to accept the help they needed.  The situation had gone on for years.  The most recent thing that caused me to lose hope was seeing how chaotic my family member’s home situation was when I visited them.

Prayer: Dear God of all hope, I come to you today because I feel like I’m losing hope.  You know my thoughts.  You’ve seen everything I’ve been going through.  I thank you for caring about me and being with me.  But right now I feel discouraged.  I am finding it hard to hang onto hope.

Here is the latest thing that has triggered my feelings of hopelessness________________________________________________________________________

Prayer subject two: Tell God how your hope has been lost little by little by listing the specific things that have happened.   

Next, allow yourself to analyze and remember the specific events, people or information that have contributed to your losing hope up to this point.

When I wrote my Losing Hope Prayer in my journal, I listed many different things that had caused me to lose hope.  When I was half way through my list I stopped and asked God if it was healthy for me to list all of these negative experiences.  Wasn’t that the opposite of what you were supposed to do to stay hopeful?  However it came to me that it was freeing to honestly open up to God instead of trying to pretend that there hadn’t been a long series of things that contributed to the problem.

Here are some of the things I found in my own situation with my family member.  My list may help you start a conversation with God about how you have been losing hope.

-Those involved in the situation are unwilling to change or accept help

-The things that have been tried that I thought would fix the problem have all failed

-The situation has been going on for a very long time with little improvement

-There’s nothing I feel I can do to change the situation

-I am afraid that things will get much worse at the rate they’re going

-I have kept lowering my expectations and even these really low expectations don’t seem likely to be met.

-I am feeling the natural emotional consequences of this tough situation –  worry, sadness, fear, embarrassment, frustration, anger etc. and these are making me less able to feel hope.

-I feel guilty about sometimes wishing I could just run away, walk away or give up or give in to the problem.

-My body is feeling the effects physically.  Stress makes it hard to sleep, eat properly, or take care of myself like I should.  Not feeling my best physically makes it harder to feel hopeful.

-I am having feelings of loss, sadness and bitterness when I remember how things used to be and how things have changed for the worse.  I wish I could go back in time.  Then I realize that things will never go back to the way they used to be and that is depressing.

-It’s hard to see very many answers to prayer.

Prayer:  Dear God, It seems like I’ve been on a long downward journey.  I come to you now, honestly telling you about the many reasons I have been losing hope.

God, I have been losing hope over time because__________________________________________________

And so dear Father, I am losing hope.  I need to find a way to find hope again.  Help me not to be down on myself for losing hope or being negative or not having enough faith.  I accept that losing hope is a natural consequence of this bad, long term situation where there are no easy answers.  I thank you that you love and value my honesty and that you long to help and comfort me.

Prayer subject 3: Finding hope by finding God’s presence

Hope is about absence.  The best way to renew hope is by reaching toward the presence of our God who is loving, kind, caring and never changing.

I knew in my mind that God cares and was there for me when I wrote my Losing Hope Prayer but I needed to find a way to make this feel real.  A phrase that came to me was something I’d read that describes how the saints of the ages faced bad circumstances because of “holy detachment.”  This means that they discovered that coming closer to God helped them separate themselves from their earthly problems.  They consciously decided to connect strongly with God through prayer, meditation, worship, praise, Scripture, confession, retreats, the Sacraments (Holy Communion) and serving God.   In immersing themselves in the reality of God, they became less focused on their circumstances.

This requires effort.  So we will pray:

Prayer: Dear God, help me feel new hope by being able to feel your presence with me in a way that helps me feel like you’re here, that you care and that you love me.  May your presence take my focus away from my problems.  Here are ways you are inviting me to experience your presence now ____________________________________

To help you think of specific ways to help find God’s presence, here are some examples from the list I made in my journal of ways that had helped me feel God’s presence in the past:

-meditating in nature

-visiting a beautiful place

-going to a church sanctuary

-listening to Christian music or by singing

-going to a private safe place, my prayer hiding place

-remembering times I felt the closest to God

-reading in my journals how God helped me through hard times in the past

-remembering people I love and who love me

-hugging someone

-enjoying time with a pet or a young child

-praying for God to put more love in my heart for God, myself, others

-imagining myself in with Jesus, such as being the boat with him on Galilee, sitting at his feet listening to his teachings, etc.

-reading the Bible

Prayer subject 4: Praying to learn to trust God

Once you have begun sensing a small glimmer of God’s presence, it’s time to rely on God’s personal love and to believe that He will stick with you through anything and everything.   This requires trust.

When I was writing my personal Losing Hope Prayer I realized that it’s one thing to believe in your mind that God cares and is there for you and it’s a much harder thing to take the mental leap to trust God with your specific problem. I wrote in my journal during my Losing Hope Prayer: “Trust doesn’t mean  that I believe everything will have a happily ever after ending, but rather believing that no matter what the outcome, You Oh Lord can help me get through it and become closer to you as a result.”

As I continued to think about this, I realized that it was healthier to give up my own picture in my head of how the situation should be fixed.  Since the situation was out of my control, I had to find a way mentally or symbolically put the situation into God’s hands.

I found a strong Bible passage to claim that helped me imbed in my mind and heart God’s care for me and his ability to act in my life.  I have put words in bold that show the sorts of actions God is taking on our behalf, even when a situation is not resolved.

Psalm 146: 3- 10 (NIV Versions)

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets prisons free,

The Lord gives sight to the blind,

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,

The Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the alien

And sustains the fatherless and the widow,

but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,  your God, O Zion, for all generations.  Praise the Lord.

As you look over the verbs in this Psalm that describe God’s actions on our behalf, be comforted by the fact that these are all point to God’s active sustaining work in your life no matter what life situation is causing you to lose hope.

Prayer: Dear God, trusting is hard when you’re losing hope.  Looking back I see that I’ve put my hope in things, people, plans, resources and processes that didn’t change things or solve my problems.  But Psalm 146 tells me that these sources aren’t where my trust should be placed.  Here are some things I have put my trust in that I now transfer my trust from and place my trust in  you __________________

 I now claim Psalm 146 and especially claim the verses that tell about your attributes and your actions that I most need today ______________________________________________________________________________

Prayer subject 5: Finding and receiving prayer support from others.

When you’re in a situation where you’re losing hope it’s a very lonely feeling. That’s one of the many reasons having someone pray for you or with you can make a world of difference.

When I was praying my losing hope prayer I wrote in my journal:  “Lord, help me find a way to seek and receive prayer support from others.  This isn’t easy because I’m not sharing all of the sad details with many people.”

I realized that I didn’t have to tell everyone everything to receive prayer support.  I found that I could cultivate two different types of prayer support:

– general prayer support from groups where I simply mentioned I had a family member going through difficulties and to pray for us.

-specific prayer support from trusted friends, intercessors and those who had experienced a similar situation with whom I shared specific details.

Here are some resources I used for general prayer support: my Sunday school class, my neighborhood Bible study group, a local church prayer ministry, an intercessory prayer group I attended.

Here are some resources I used for specific, personal prayer support: meeting one-on-one with a minister for prayer, relatives who knew details of my situation, close friends, a woman who had a son with the same problem and a prayer partner I was already praying with regularly.

I personally have found that when someone prays one-on-one with me out loud whether it’s in person or over the phone, I am greatly encouraged, more hopeful and feel loved and cared for.   The other key benefit of having someone pray for you personally is the mysterious amplification of Christ’s presence that you feel as explained in this Bible verse:

“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew  18 :20 NIV)

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, I thank you that there are people who are willing to pray for me even when I find it hard to pray for myself.  I pray that you will give me guidance about specific ways I can receive prayer support from others.  Here are some ideas resources and people that the Holy Spirit seems to be bringing to my mind now ___________________________________________________________________ 

6. Prayer subject 6: Praying for the strength and focus to do God’s small missions for each day 

When we are losing hope because of a big difficult life problem we can feel overwhelmed.  We often feel like we’re not making any progress and that nothing we do matters.  So we focus all of our mental and physical energy on making the problem go away.  We become consumed by it.

While I was in the middle of my Losing Hope Prayer I heard a sermon where the minister suggested that we ask God what our mission is each day.  I grabbed onto the idea like a lifeline because I realized that o often when I was lying in bed awake my mind was working hard to try and solve my problem and worrying about the details and wondering if I was doing enough or if I was doing the right thing.

I decided to begin the day by asking God what my mission was for that day.  More often than not, my daily mission had nothing to do with solving my family member’s problems.   Instead my mission might be to do some home paperwork that I’d been putting off or to go to church and worship.

On the days when my mission was to interact with my family member, my mission usually wasn’t to get a task done but rather to my family member know that I was available if they needed help and that I cared and that God cared.  This helped tremendously.  I found that when I focused on accomplishing some goal oriented task with my family member, such as talking them into getting help, it was always doomed to fail.  Focusing on fix-it tasks never worked.  If I opened myself to the possibility that maybe my actual mission in visiting my family member might be to say a short prayer with them when I left I could leave with hope because I had accomplished what God wanted me to do.  On any given day my mission might be to treat my family member to lunch so they’d have at least one good meal that day, or to hug them and say I love them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that you will give me the guidance and wisdom to know that my life’s daily mission doesn’t always revolve around solving the situation that is causing me to lose hope.  I pray that you will remind me every morning to pray and meditate on what your mission for me today might be.   Here is something you seem to be telling me that’s my mission from you for today___________________    

Prayer subject 7:  Praying for Scriptures of hope to claim and cling to     

The Bible is the ultimate source of truth.  The truth it tells us is that God is good, (Psalm  136:1 ) he is with us (Matthew 28 :20) and he wants a personal relationship with him.  (Revelation 3:20)  The truth is that he knows you intimately, (Psalm 139:1-17)  can forgive and redeem you  (Psalm 103:3, John 3:16,17) and can give you the power to live through anything.  (Acts 1:8)  The truth is, he is with you from the first day of your life until the last and then on into eternity where you will see him face to face and where he will dry every tear from your eye.  (Revelation. 22:4-6, Revelation 21:4)

There were a number of times Scriptures gave me hope when I was worried and upset.  Sometimes scriptures came to me in my morning Bible reading.  Other times I would remember a scripture.  Still other times I would pray something and realize that it sounded familiar and would do an Internet search to find out what Bible verse the words or phrase came from.

As an example one night I was very worried because I felt there was little chance my family member  would agree to me taking them to a doctor the next day.  I asked God to give me a helpful word.  What seemed to come was a Bible verse I remembered, “Rejoice that your name is written in the book of life.” (Luke 10:20)  This reminded me of the ultimate truth that my family member had begun a relationship with Jesus.  Even though at present they weren’t growing in it, they were still on God’s list.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you that your word in the Bible will last forever.  I thank you that it contains the truth I need to live and it also has the encouragement I need to regain my hope.  Please help me to discover and cling to your promises from the Bible today.  Here is a specific phrase or Bible verse that seems to come to my mind right now for me to cling to _______________________________  

 Selected Bible verses on hope to claim:

“For I know the plans I have for you ,” declares the Lord,  “plans to prosper you  and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you who through faith are shielded by God’s power  until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold which perishes even thought refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  (I Peter 1:3 -7 NIV)

The Lord delights in those how fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11 NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that sufferings produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.   ( Romans 5:1 –5 NIV)        

Prayer subject 8: Praying for a role model who can give you hope

Nothing gives more hope than seeing someone who has successfully made it through your life situation.  We can find role models in our community, our churches, in books, online, in the news, in church history and in the Bible.

One day when I was feeling sad about the fact that my family member had lost so many possessions and didn’t have good prospects of being self supporting, I spent half an hour writing down my regrets and sense of loss.  Slowly God started to bring me out of my negative thoughts by giving me a new thought: The lost things I was lamenting were all things we conventionally think in our culture are the necessary ingredients for a good life.  But there were alternative ways of living that didn’t depend on “stuff” but rather on God’s calling.

I had gone on a pilgrimage to Assissi and remembered how Saint Frances had left a comfortable middle class life to embrace poverty and beg for food and even go hungry so he could be free to spread the good news of God’s love and care to others.  I visited La Verna where St. Frances sometimes slept on a rock.  St. Frances had very little in the way of earthly power or possessions, but his life continues to impact the world today.

I wrote in my journal after considering St. Frances as a role model: “Negative voices and thoughts, I declare God’s viewpoint to you, that life does not lose meaning if you don’t have money.  God’s economy is completely different.  His viewpoint of success only requires a willing heart.  All life is sacred and precious in his sight and there is no situation that he can’t redeem and use for his glory.”

Prayer: Dear God, please open my eyes to someone who can serve as a role model to me who has been successful in your eyes even when faced with a difficult situation.  I now write down a person who comes to my mind and mediate on their example __________________________________________

Prayer subject 9: Finding helpful information, counteracting negative thoughts and relishing good moments

As we conclude our prayer, we will bring several other subjects to God in prayer to help us regain hope.

Prayer: Dear God, I pray that you will provide the other needs I have of graces that will restore my  hope and give me the courage to go forward with confidence. 

I pray that if there is some new information, treatment or source of help that I need to know about that will help me handle this situation that you will direct me to it today.  Here is a new thought or idea of where to look today __________________________________________________________________

I pray that you will help me to find a way to deal with any negative thoughts that have been happening automatically without my realizing it or any thoughts that suddenly ambush me and remind me of my problems.  Here is a way that you seem to be directing me to deal with my negative thoughts ________

I pray that you will give me the ability to be present in the moment to see and affirm the good around me.  Open my eyes to little things.  Give me the ability to laugh.   Help me to be delighted by an unexpected beauty.  Here is one thing that has happened to me today that I chose to relish as a beautiful gift from you to refresh my heart and mind ______________________________________

And so dear Father, I end my prayer to you believing that you can restore my hope and sustain me through every situation.  I claim the Bible verse that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  May your grace be sufficient for all of my needs today, because you tell me that your power is greatest when I am weak. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Thank you for loving me and caring. I thank you for the gift of hope.   In the name of Jesus my help and redeemer I pray.  Amen. 

 

Other helpful articles

Praying for adult children with problems

Chronic health problems prayer

Cancer recurrence prayer

Prayer for healing a broken heart

Prayer of hope using the Star Spangled Banner

A prayer for hope and assurance that death is not the end

Painful loss prayer

Prayer for strength one day at a time

Crisis praying – hiding place prayer  

How to have a prayer breakthrough by honestly talking to God

 

Copyright Karen Barber 2017.  All rights reserved.