Have you ever had a situation where the only thing you could do is pray?
Maybe it’s a friend going through something. Perhaps you’re living far away from what’s happening. Maybe it’s about someone you can’t influence. Maybe everything about the situation is completely and totally outside of your control.
We like to be in control. It gives us a sense of security. Assurance that we did everything in our power to have the situation be less than disastrous. When there are no action steps for us to take, we’re left with one thing. Going to God and praying about it.
But why isn’t praying our first and every step?
I had to ask myself this question recently. There’s a situation that I’m closely involved in, yet completely and totally removed from being able to do anything ‘helpful’. The literal only thing I can do, is pray.
At first I let myself feel defeated and useless. I felt so guilty. I thought about taking a break from my mission and going home. To give up what is important to me, to go focus on the problem. To do something and be useful.
Obviously, that wasn’t a realistic option. So, I brought it to God, and he brought two points to my mind, and maybe these two points can help you, too.
1. the ‘Just’ praying ideology
“All I can do is just…” I pause, searching for the words. When I find nothing, my shoulders drop, I sigh and I say, “just pray.”
What a bunch of hogwash.
Just pray? Are you kidding? Oh, the only thing I can do is contact the literal creator and ruler of the entire universe, who loves me enough to send his son to die for me—and loves me beyond that to the point of wanting me to talk to him—and ask him if there’s anything he can do about it.
So often, we underestimate the power of prayer. I get it. Sometimes when we pray, it feels like nothing happens. But don’t you think God wants to talk to you about that, too?
2. Weight Training
There are many times when we’re told to run with endurance, in the bible. That hard things will come. Specifically, what comes to my mind is James 1:2-4
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4 ESV
Sometimes, God allows the hard things to train us. A baseball player will put weights on his bat and practice swinging. Then, he takes the weights off, walks up to the plate, and hits a solid home run. Don’t you want to hit a home run with God? Just absolutely knock that spiritual warfare on its butt! How can we expect to do that if we have no tolerance for the uncomfortable? If we give up when the only option we have is to pray? What if God’s trying to strengthen your prayer-muscle?
In the end, I had to face myself with a second question. Do I believe my prayers can actually do something?
If I did… I don’t think it would be ‘just’ praying, anymore…
We constantly have opportunites before us. Opportunities to grow deeper, gain more endurance, have just a smidge more trust in God. When we face situations that are hard or uncomfortable, remember… we can always pray.
Speaking of another muscle that needs practice… Try out my free devotional on joy!