You Can (Safely) Get Your Hopes Up When You Pray - Encouragement for Today - May 13, 2024

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Liz DittyMay 13, 2024

You Can (Safely) Get Your Hopes Up When You Pray

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“Sustain me as you promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” Psalm 119:116 (CSB) 

I scribbled frantically in my notebook as my friend and I talked quickly at the same time; our ideas were moving faster than our pens. We looked up at each other and smiled in recognition of finding a person with the same dream. For two years, I had prayed to find a friend at work, and God’s answer was finally sitting across from me.

But only a few months later, I learned my new friend was moving out of state.

A familiar feeling settled in my stomach — the same one I had in sixth grade when my best friend, Anna, moved away. Or when my college roommate and I realized we would never share a sink again after graduation. Or when the friend who let me sit on her floor with a colicky infant said her husband was interviewing for a job far away.

Had God answered my prayer only to leave me lonely again so soon?

Truthfully, prayer has rarely been my most effective way to get what I want. For a long time, I thought the godliest attitude was to keep praying anyway. But too many prayers seemed to languish on heaven’s front porch, expiring into disappointment. Learning how to pray felt like learning not to get my hopes up too high.

But what is hope anyway? I love Dallas Willard’s definition: “Hope is joyous anticipation of good that is not yet here or is ‘unseen.’” My hopes had been so fragile because I was making wishes and calling them “prayers.”

True hope is simple. It believes in God’s Word, God’s promises and God’s character, as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:116: “Sustain me as you promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” True hope believes God will never stop being with us or being good … and no matter what happens, nothing can make that untrue or separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

Like any good Father, God wants us to ask Him for what we want and need. And He delights in seeing His children enjoy His good gifts.

When I’m lonely and pray for a friend, I’m hoping for more than someone I can laugh and create with. My hope is that the goodness of God — against all odds — can break into my loneliness. It did, and it will again. It’s a hope that never ends in disappointment because it starts and ends with who God is and what He’s like. While outcomes are unpredictable and grief is unavoidable, God is also unendingly faithful.

When we’re honest with God about what we want, we can be safely hopeful. When we’re watching expectantly, we’ll see His goodness, whatever form it takes.

Dear God, there’s so much I want and need, but I’m afraid to ask because I don’t know if You’ll say “yes.” I’m scared to wait and terrified that without those things, I won’t be OK. Teach me to recognize Your goodness and presence and to hope again in You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


For a helpful guide to developing more honest and hopeful conversations with God, check out Liz Ditty’s six-week Bible study experience, Hear My Prayer: Learning from the Faith of Elijah.

If you would like to hear the truth of God’s presence and goodness sung over you, enjoy Liz’s curated playlist on Spotify.


Before you go, Liz would love to hang out again soon! Visit her official website for prayer prompts, poems for the hopeful, and other free resources. You can also socialize with Liz on Instagram or Facebook.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Hear My Prayer by Liz Ditty. To celebrate this book, Liz’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, May 20, 2024.}


Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (CSB).

What are you hoping for when you pray?

Whatever your life is like right now, comment below how you have noticed God’s goodness or His good gifts lately.

© 2024 by Liz Ditty. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106

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