If you’re like me then you know what it’s like to feel tired, fatigued, and drained during and after prayer. Sometimes prayer seems to energize us and other times it drains us. In this post, I explore some possible causes.
I’ve often wondered why I feel tired after prayer. I believe it’s often spiritual warfare, especially if it’s intercessory prayer.
The book of Daniel shows us that our prayers move both angels and demons in the unseen realm. You can bet that when you set yourself to intercede the enemy doesn’t like it and will do things to distract you or make you tired.
There are times when I walk away from my prayer time full of vibrant energy and joy—ready to take on the world. Other times I feel fatigued like I have to take a nap.
Let’s look into some of what could be causing this. Spiritual warfare, especially during intercessory prayer, is the most common cause of feeling tired, lethargic, and fatigued during prayer. It could be some other things as well—let’s take a look.
The Book of Daniel Gives Us A Behind The Scene Look At Spiritual Warfare
The enemy resists our prayers and does everything in his power to hinder God’s purposes. God hears us when we pray and he often releases an immediate answer to our prayers but demonic resistance oftentimes can hinder and delay the answer from manifesting.
The book of Daniel takes us behind the scenes and shows what happens when we pray. In Daniel chapter 10 we read that Daniel went on a limited fast for 21 days. During this fast, he was mourning for his nation Israel as they were held captive in Babylon at the time. He ate no meat, alcohol, or sweets on his fast; he ate no food that was pleasing to the eye.
On the 21st day of his fast, an angel encountered him and gave him insight into what was happening behind the scenes, in the spirit realm, when he began to pray. The angel told Daniel that he was delayed because the prince of Persia had resisted him during those 21 days. This prince he mentions was a principality. A high ranking fallen angel. We know that 1/3 of the angels joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God (The good news is that there are two angels for every demon).
The angel told Daniel that as soon as Daniel had set his face to God and began praying a message was released by God. This angel was carrying the message. He gave him a vision of things to come and of the end times. Angels deliver messages from God to his people. The word for angel in Hebrew/Greek is “messenger.” Angel’s are messengers. We see in the Bible that they often carry scrolls.
It was in response to Daniel’s prayer and fasting that the archangel Michael showed up and helped shift things in the spirit realm in God’s favor. The archangel Michael came to the rescue of this other angel and helped him. God moves in response to our prayers—and so do angels and demons. God partners with us and when we pray for God’s will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven”—it carries authority with it in the spiritual realm.
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” Daniel 10:11-14 ESV
You can be sure that when you are spending time praying for yourself, other people, nations, etc—you will experience resistance. The enemy hates Christians and he especially hates Intercessors and Christians who pray. Tiredness, mental fatigue, confusion over our minds—these are all assaults satan’s kingdom will use against you when you start pressing into God and begin to pray and fast regularly. It’s a good sign because he’s afraid of you! Stand in your authority. Be faithful to the place of prayer and you will experience a breakthrough in this.
Jesus on Prayer
Jesus often sought solitary places to pray. He frequently got up in the early morning, while it was still dark, and prayed to the Father. He had crowds around him wherever he went. Multitudes of people were seeking to be healed by him; many were. Why was it then, that through all of this, Jesus often sought solitary places to pray?
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 NIV
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them Luke 4:42
I believe it was so he could replenish his virtue and power. He never did anything without first seeing the father do it. It was a relationship. When he prayed he was refreshed with power. A fresh anointing. The Holy Spirit and angels strengthened him. I believe that it was the attack of the enemy on his flesh that caused his weariness and tiredness. We see this immediately after his 40-day temptation in the wilderness when angels came to minister to him.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Mathew 4:11 ESV
Temptation from the enemy in Jesus’ flesh weakened him. I believe the 40 day fast strengthened him enough in his spirit to overcome the temptation in his flesh. It does say that after 40 day’s Jesus was hungry. My point is that it wasn’t just a physical weariness—there was a level of supernatural (demonic) temptation involved too. He needed to be strengthened.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus in anguish of soul to the point he sweat drops of blood. Angels were there to strengthen him in this passage as well—but even in the midst of angelic strengthening, he was in anguish. This tells us that it’s possible to be in the midst of praying God’s will, being strengthened by Angels, and still experience discomfort in our soul. Jesus wasn’t simply tired. He was in anguish as he knew he was about to face the cross.
Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:43-44
Immediately, in the next verse, Jesus finds the disciples sleeping. They were supposed to be praying and keeping watch. They all knew the dangerous reality of the situation. How could they fall asleep during such an important time—while the man they have been following for 3 years is in such anguish a short distance from them? They knew it was important to pray but they fell asleep anyway.
And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46
They fell asleep in the hour of their greatest need for prayer. I think much of this was anguish, stress, and sorrow over what was coming. These are human emotions but I do believe they were fueled by demonic assaults. The enemy releases arrow’s against our mind, will, and emotions. He takes advantage of us when we are weak and that’s what was happening here.
If you are feeling fatigued after praying or tired during prayer then this is likely happening to you as well on some level. The key to breakthrough is to keep pressing through the tiredness, and through the fatigue; and through the boredom. There will be a day when it begins to lift. You have to press into prayer to experience a breakthrough. This is where developing discipline in your prayer life takes shape.
Did Jesus feel drained when healing power and virtue went out of him?
We see that when he healed the woman with the issue of blood that virtue came out of him. I believe that he spent a lot of energy ministering to the needs of so many people and constantly being pulled on. That at some point he needed to commune with the Father to be strengthened and poured into through the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus’s time with the father was relationship and not intercessory prayer. Where he got refueled.
He had to stay in the anointing—and to do that he had to spend time alone communing with the Father through the Holy Spirit. He did everything in relationship with the father and the Holy Spirit—not apart from them. Relationships need to be maintained. You have to spend time with the person you are in a relationship with. He needed time to be rejuvenated. There was much warfare over him for sure. He needed to maintain his connection with the Holy Spirit and Father.
What To Do When You Are Feeling Tired During Prayer
First, what do I mean by “prayer”? For some people, it means petitioning God for our needs and the needs of others. For some, it means “contemplative prayer”. For others, it could simply mean worship and Scripture meditation. It’s a pretty subjective word. I’d say prayer, in this case, can refer to any spiritual activity that draws you (or others) near to God and releases God’s will into the earth.
If you are feeling tired during any sort of worship time, bible study time, intercessory prayer time, then I believe you should press through it as best you can until you get a breakthrough. If you are healthy enough to fast you might want to consider a 2 or 3-day water fast—drinking only water. See if the brain fog lifts.
Of course, only do this if you are in good health and able to fast this way. If not then try some other type of fast (such as a Daniel Fast). There is power released when we add fasting to our prayers. See if it lifts after a 3 day fast. If you notice a slight improvement afterward then ask God to continue to deliver you from this and maybe consider fasting again at some point.
As we continue to stand steadfast in prayer and in reading the Word. Little by little you will notice that God restores your soul, mind, will, emotions—as you develop spiritual disciplines. He slowly (and sometimes quickly) transforms us. Usually, it’s little by little but he takes us from glory to glory and strength to strength.
Other Factors to Consider
If you eat a lot of refined sugar, white flour, and processed foods then your diet isn’t helping your mental fatigue. Also, if your diet is high in unhealthy fats and fried food—that could explain some of your brain fog and lethargy during prayer as well. I believe that tiredness from prayer is largely due to spiritual warfare but of course there are other factors that come into play as well such as your diet and mental/emotional health.