Is Prayer Your Last Resort or First Response?

Since there’s nothing I can do about it, I guess I’ll just pray. 

Ever find yourself uttering these words?

I’ve been guilty of this many times.

Maybe I won’t say those words aloud, but my attitude shouts it.

Why do we often turn to prayer as a last resort? Why is it not our first response?

I’ll confess that because I’m human, I think I must DO something to fix a situation, or another person.

I want to see immediate action…like right now! I want to control the outcome of circumstances that are falling apart.

Ever been there?

When life pulls the rug out from underneath and you come crashing to the floor.

When something unexpectedly shakes you up, threatening to paralyze you with fear.

When that person you love so deeply crushes your heart, leaving you in a pit of despair.

I’ve been here before. Many times.

The older I get, I’ve come to realize in these moments that prayer is the first thing I should embrace.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way. After trying to fix things in my own strength, I see that my strength fails.

After trying to analyze and figure things out, I see that the mess just doesn’t make sense in my finite mind.

After spending countless hours in a fit of worry, my soul feels weary and worn out.

PRAY

Yes. That is what I’m called to do in all situations.

PRAY

This should be my first response in a moment of crisis. My first instinct when life starts spinning out of control.

PRAY

This is where the power is. It’s not in me. It’s not in my plan. It’s not in another person.

It’s in God!

He knows the circumstances better than I do. He sees the whole picture where I can only see a little piece.

He knows every nook and cranny of the person’s heart I’m concerned about.

He sees it all and knows it all.

PRAY

I think we get caught up in the lie that unless we are doing something, then nothing is going to be accomplished. We want to see results. We want to have something to measure. We want something tangible to hold on to.

But this is so far from the truth when it comes to prayer!

When we pray, power is unleashed from heaven in ways we just can’t fathom.

When we pray about things we don’t have control over, we turn them over to the one who is in control. 

Prayer helps us trust God with the unseen things that we are longing to see. 

And genuine prayer truly utters, “I can’t. But you can.”

PRAYER is something the enemy does not want us to engage in. If he can keep us tangled up in our futile efforts of trying to fix things on our own, then he has accomplished his mission.

I’ve heard a lot of powerful statements about prayer. One of my favorites is this:

“Are you using prayer like a spare tire or the steering wheel?”

I’ve often pulled out my spare tire of prayer when life gets messy and my soul is punctured from running ragged.

But if I’m in continual conversation with God throughout the moments of every day, then it lets Him steer me on the right path. It centers me in the middle of life’s road and keeps me balanced, no matter what comes my way.

PRAY

Yes. There is power in prayer. It connects us to the Father. It calms our chaos. It empowers us with His strength.

So what about you? What is overwhelming you today? Have you taken it to God in prayer? Are you looking at prayer as a last resort or will you dare to embrace it as your lifeline?

(Philippians 4:6-7) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Blessings to you,

  Lisa

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race.

 

How to Win the Fight

Your spouse offends you with unwholesome words. You’re innocent (as far as you know). Your flesh enraged, you lash back. And before you know it, a full-fledged argument is underway. This is the time to fight! Right?

Your tween-aged daughter gives you that hateful look again, and before you even have a chance to think, sassy words come spewing out of her mouth. No time for this kind of behavior! Your flesh ignited with anger, you raise your voice a bit higher (a.k.a. YELLING), telling her she’d better go to her room…or else. This is the time to fight! Right?

As much as my flesh wants to say, YES! It’s time to FIGHT, deep down in my soul, I know it’s not.

Actually, it IS time to fight. But not with your spouse. Not with your child.

Huh?

According to Ephesians 6:12, we need to redirect our focus towards the real enemy.

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Our biggest struggles are usually with our family members. Our flesh and blood. Who’s in agreement with me?

But God emphasizes that our struggle shouldn’t be with them. Will we have struggles with them? Yes. Will we have conflict with them? Yes. Will we get frustrated and feel like there’s nothing else we can do? Yes.

But ultimately our struggle is actually a battle between our soul and the enemy. The enemy against all Christ followers. Satan.

We are called to battle on our knees in prayer instead of getting pulled in to mindless yelling matches. This is not easy. I have learned the hard way that being flesh-driven instead of spirit-led causes me much grief and disappointment.

This powerful verse in Ephesians is a reminder to me that God can fight my battles a lot better than I can. When I take my concerns, hurts and offended heart directly to Him, then He takes over and gives me victory. Sometimes I  only have a split second to decide how I’ll respond. The times I’ve chosen to walk away and find a quiet place to pray turn out so much better, bringing me peace only He can give. But the times I take things in my own hands and fight in my flesh? Not a pretty picture at all.

The enemy is out to destroy our marriages. Our families. Our close relationships. He won’t back down.

But God is for us. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in this world!

I pray that wherever you have conflict today with that family member or close friend, you’ll be ready to FIGHT!

Not in the flesh. But on your knees.

arguing-1296392_640

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Taking a Wrong Turn

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, Oh Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God my savior and my hope is in you all day long.”

While vacationing on a beautiful beach in Florida, I planned on running three miles. The first two were under nicely shaded shops along the boardwalk. But then I wanted to enjoy the scenery of ocean waves crashing upon the beach. I’ll run my last mile along the shore and call it quits. Sounded like a good plan to me. I trudged over across the sand to the edge of the shore where I could run on solid ground. My plan was to run for half a mile out and half  a mile back to make it an even three. But that’s when I got off course.

I was ready to head back the last half mile and cut back through where I thought I’d entered the beach area. But what I didn’t know then was that I’d turned too soon. As I jogged back to where I thought our condo was located, the scenery around me didn’t look familiar. I kept looking for the sign that bore the name of our condo. But I didn’t see it anywhere. My persistent jog slowly turned to a sluggish stroll. I finally had to humbly admit the truth: I had taken a wrong turn and was headed in the opposite direction.

The sweltering sun ushered streams of sweat running down my back…. joined with tears of frustration pouring down my face. No longer underneath shaded shops to shelter me, I could not escape the blistering sun.

I sensed God gently speaking to my weary soul: Yes, you are turned around. But that doesn’t define who you are. 

As I continued to walk (not running at this point!) one step at a time closer to my condo, I asked God to show me some truth from this situation so it wouldn’t be a total waste. (Of course the obvious lesson is to figure out where you are before running an extra mile!)

Sometimes we think we know exactly where we are in life. We head off in a certain direction without evaluating where we really are. We make plans and think we have it all figured out. But then we suddenly realize we are not where we intended to be. We have to admit we took a wrong turn. We have to set our pride aside and accept the reality that we missed something.

But the cool thing about God is that even when we’ve taken a wrong turn, He’s still right there with us. Even when we are way off His intended course, He is still our rock. We may have to take a longer route to get back on track, but He promises to never leave us.

Although I was running in unfamiliar territory, I still felt the effects of the sun. In fact, it was the only thing recognizable at the moment of realizing I was lost. Whether I’m running at home in Kentucky or on a beautiful Florida beach, it’s still the same sun shining down upon me. And in the same way, God is always with us whether we’re in a predictable routine or right smack in the middle of something frightening and unfamiliar.

READY? Have you found yourself off course when you thought you were on the right path? Did you take a sudden turn not realizing it would bring you to a place you didn’t want to be?  If you find yourself on a path you didn’t intend to walk, humbly ask God to help you get back on the right course. Yes, you might have to experience some consequences but He will be with you every step of the way. He’s never left your side. He’s still there.

GET SET. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

GO! Heavenly Father, show me in my life where I’ve gotten off course. Reveal to me anything I need to confess in going the wrong way. Thank you for your faithfulness to me even when I’m going the wrong direction. Help me run back into your loving arms and walk confidently in your forgiveness and love. Amen.

path along the sea

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett