Speed dialing with no signal – Dealing with frustration in prayer

By Mark McIntyre

Rotary-TelephoneRecently, the lyric “speed dialing with no signal” from a U2 song caught my ear. It grabbed my attention because it described my recent experience in prayer.

I take some comfort in the fact that many saints before me have had similar experience. In the Psalms, we find David and the other Psalmists asking God the question “how long?” at least twelve times (Ps. 4:2, Ps. 6:3, Ps. 13:1-2, Ps. 35:17, Ps. 62:3, Ps. 74:10, Ps. 79:5, Ps. 80:4, Ps. 82:2, Ps. 89:46, Ps. 90:13, Ps. 94:3). The “how long” question is an indication of frustration and impatience.

So I am not alone in my frustration in prayer. I am not the only one who has ever felt that his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. Knowing that this is a shared experience brings some comfort, but what is the solution?

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As I consider this, three things come to mind as remedies to frustration in prayer:

  1. I need to remember the character of God as revealed in Jesus.
  2. I need to remember that Jesus teaches me to be persistent in prayer
  3. I need to remember the two great commands

The Character of God

In John 14:9, Jesus indicates that those who have seen Jesus have seen the father. Jesus reveals to us the character of God. In Jesus, we see a God that is patient, forgiving, gentle and loving. I seen in Jesus a God who wants to grant my prayers, and if he does not grant them, there is good reason for the denial…


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