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7 Reasons We Give God the Silent Treatment

Written by Mark Vroegop on
One of my favorite verses in a lament psalm is in Psalm 77, where the psalmist says,
“In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints” (Ps. 77:2-3).
I was thinking about this text in relation to how we can, sometimes, be tempted to give God the silent treatment. The pain in our lives can lead to a settled prayerlessness—either in general or about a particular subject.

Why We Don’t Pray

I want to give you seven reasons I think we might stop praying. Seven realities that you and I have to wrestle with and use as encouragement to keep seeking the Lord. Let me share seven reasons why we don’t pray:
  1. We don’t think we need help
  2. We feel hopeless
  3. We are mad or angry
  4. We are tired
  5. We are discouraged
  6. We are numb
  7. We lack faith and are struggling to believe
What’s amazing about Psalm 77 is that the psalmist keeps praying. Even though he moans in his prayers, he keeps seeking God. He keeps leaning in. So, I encourage you to keep leaning in to God. In the midst of whatever you are going through—whichever of those seven reasons that are tempting you to not pray—keep talking to him. Don’t give God the silent treatment.

How to Respond When We’re Tempted Not to Pray

When we want to give God the silent treatment and instead come to him, there’s a level of risk and there may be a barrier. But it can be amazingly therapeutic to the soul. It can be refreshing as we press through that barrier. By God’s grace, we can say, “Lord, this is really hard.” And then, we can use lament as a way to turn our hearts and remember: God can be trusted. By talking to God about our pain, laying out our complaints before the Lord, claiming the promises, and choosing to trust; we find the beautiful hope of what it means to trust in God’s goodness even when we don’t know what to say.
So, keep leaning in when you’re discouraged or weary. Keep seeking God when you are tempted to give God the silent treatment. It is amazing how God can give us grace when we’re tempted not to pray.

Mark Vroegop

Mark was called as the Lead Pastor of College Park in 2008. In this integral role, he is the primary teaching pastor for the North Indy congregation, and he works alongside the pastors and elders to implement our mission of igniting a passion to follow Jesus. He is a graduate of Cedarville University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (M. Div.). Mark approaches ministry with a unique blend of passion for Jesus, a love for the Word, and a desire to see lives changed. He is a conference speaker, Council Member of The Gospel Coalition, contributor to 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me, and author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament and Weep With Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation. Prior to serving at College Park, Mark served at a church in western Michigan for 13 years. He married his wife, Sarah, in 1993, and they have four children, as well as a daughter in heaven due to an unexpected still-birth in 2004.
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