Why do Christians endure burnout?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Lk 21:36 — Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
Ro 12:12 — Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Eph 6:18 — Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Col 4:2 — Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
1Th 5:17 — Never stop praying.
Lk 11:5-9 — Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
“To be with him”—this “with him” is needed not just for a certain initial period so that it can be drawn upon later. It must always be at the heart of the priestly ministry. But it has to be used, it has to be learned so that eventually it will have acquired a certain ease and we can take for granted that it will not fail us in times of trial. It is important that we do not cultivate prayer only when we find joy in it. Just as nothing important can be attained in this life without discipline and method, so, too, our inner life has need of both of these
The quote from Pope Ratzinger above comes out of a quote that starts with a serious question. Back when he was a bishop, he was trying to determine why those who enter the ministry with zealous, that many had high expectations of, why would these potential superstars in ministry collapse, burn out, losing the zeal, only to replace it with emptiness.
It is a good question for us, not just for those in “ministry”, but for all who are in the priesthood of all believers.
And I think the answer is the same.
it is the lack of prayer, the lack of fellowship time with God.
We have to get away from the idea that prayer is something we have to do, or that prayer time should be a time of great joy and being uplifted. We have to realize that the times where prayer is a lament, the attempt to vent and leave God with all our burdens. To pray with the tears running full, even to the point where our prayer ends in exhaustion and a release into sleep.
That is why Jesus and the apostles kept encouraging people to pray, to speak, to listen, to communicate with God. You see it over and over, through the psalms, throughout the New Testament, there are invitations to walk in the presence of God. There are the invitations to give Him all of our burdens, to find peace in His presence, and to know we are safe there.
And if the lack of pray results in burnout and loneliness, then prayer, these times of fellowship with God, allow us to see how He sustains us. To know He is there, to know He is listening, to know we can enter into those hard times of prayer with ease, confident of His love. This is what we need, this is what keeps us going, even in the darkness.
This is our guard against burnout, against losing our zeal, against the feelings of emptiness and loneliness in the storm.
Prayer helps you to know this… God is with you!
So keep praying my friends!
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 291). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.