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  • Writer's pictureLea Turner

A Prayer When You’re Finding It Hard to Pray

Updated: Apr 17

Woman praying outside

This month's blog is from my friend and guest blogger, Lea Turner.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not. I am the one who helps you.” –Isaiah 41:13 (ESV)

I don't want to do it.

I have to, I know.

In all my best efforts, I attempt to ease my son's hurt if only I could find him the right help, medication, or even an outstanding mentor. Or maybe if he could just grasp how much I long to see him set free from his suffering, he’ll walk away from all the addiction.

Something must give.

Finally, in a desperate attempt to save his life, I google drug rehabs and begin to make calls. One after another, until I find the rehab I think will be the right fit. As much as I don't want to, I know my son needs help.

Two days later, we find ourselves packing in his room. He and I will make the four-hour drive to his first of three rehabs in just a few short hours.

Help, God. Please. Help me. I exhale these words to God as I grab the towels he needs to pack. Help comes in the most unusual ways.

Help, God. Please. Help me. I exhale these words to God as I grab the towels he needs to pack. Help comes in the most unusual ways. ~ Lea Turner

My son fights me tooth and nail throughout the day. He knows he can’t resist these demons anymore, but he isn’t sure if he has the strength to take them head-on. The day stretches on as he and I argue as we pack and get into the car.

Exhausted. Tired of the fight.

When we finally arrived at the rehab. We said our goodbyes, and I climbed into the car, collapsing behind the steering wheel to begin the four-hour drive home. All the anxiety of leaving my teenage son at a facility for months came rushing in.

I inhale and whisper, God. Please Help me—four words I say often. A mentor calls them breath prayers. They’re simply reminders of the source of my strength, like medicine to my soul. I’ve found great comfort in knowing I’m not alone in the darkness. His Presence is all around us.

On our darkest nights, we can give our souls medicine by breathing out the anxiety and inhaling God’s Presence. He’s right here with us. God does not shy away from our pain. He is literally the breath in our lungs.

Tears began to form as my phone rang.

We’ve only told a few people of my son’s spiraling out-of-control problem, so I sigh in relief when it’s a familiar older woman’s voice is on the other end. It’s funny how two strangers become instant trusted friends. We met only a year ago through a mutual friend, but instantly, she became a friend.

Her voice is soft on the other end, “How did it go? I pour my heart out for thirty minutes, a beautiful, honest exchange. As the words flow out, I’m reminded of the help of the Holy Spirit over the last twenty-four hours.

The writer of Psalms 46:1 said, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1

Right now, in our ever-present need, God is able and willing to help us through the power of the Holy Spirit. For me, that day meant packing my son up and driving him to rehab, trusting God with his journey.

For my friend, it’s walking onto an oncology floor to receive her chemotherapy for the first time. We not only receive help from the Holy Spirit, but He also weaves stories together, allowing us to lean on each other through difficult times.

Difficult seasons catch us off guard, making us feel unprepared, even weak. If we’re not careful, they can take us out. We grow weary and often forget the Holy Spirit is willing and waiting for us to cry out for help.

I know, I know, it’s easy to talk about faith. Even living it out when life is going as

planned feels like a walk in the park. Now, believing God is ready and willing to help when wave after wave of disappointment and loss come crashing down takes faith. A real faith in a real God. It requires letting go of the what-ifs and should haves. It takes doing everything you know how to stay connected to God.

Easy to write, not easy to live.

Those breath prayers became my lifeline to staying in faith connected to the very One who is the source of my breath.

Bible Journal

Years ago, Brennan Manning crafted a profoundly intimate Breath Prayer tailored

uniquely to everyone, ushering in the embrace of the Father's love to countless wounded souls.

He shares how this God-given Breath Prayer stitched the fragments of his heart back together. From the haunting scars of childhood abuse and the bitter ache of abandonment by his alcoholic father, Brennan bore the weight of suffocating shame, gnawing insecurity, and the relentless grip of addiction. Yet, as he surrendered to the rhythm of his contemplative prayer, inhaling and exhaling, he discovered a sacred ground where his identity blossomed into a radiant truth—he

belongs to Abba Father as a child of God.

Brennan's Breath Prayer resonates with simplicity and depth: "Abba, I belong to you."

(Experiencing Jesus: A Spiritual Retreat, San Diego, CA, 2004; see also his book, Abba’s Child).

And when we inhale the presence of God… we are held, embraced through the hard in life…reminding us of unbeatable hope and unassailable peace as we walk out our faith.

Author Image
Lea Turner is a registered nurse (RN, BSN) and a compassionate writer and speaker who helps others see God’s goodness in the hard. Having experienced three years of heartbreak, including death, illness, addiction, and loss, Lea has become an expert on grief and is passionate about walking alongside others who are suffering. She’s written for Proverbs 31 Ministries, The Glorious Table, and For Every Mom. She resides in Mississippi with her husband and five children and is known for her attentive listening and insightful wisdom. Her newest book, The Freedom to Feel, will gently lead you to discover how to embrace pain and suffering with kindness, gain the freedom to express your fear and disappointments to God, reignite hope through an awareness of God and His promises, and learn to hold space for each other’s pain and suffering.  Find more at


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