Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6
I learned late Tuesday afternoon that the entire hydraulics division I’m in was sold by the corporation to a competitor! I was driving home from a business trip when a colleague called and told me the news.
Everyone’s first reaction, including mine, was to go into “soiled knickers mode.” But I then remembered what I write about frequently: prayer should be the means of first resort, not our last resort. I prayed. God, please keep me safe from being laid off. Help me to do what I need to do to survive and help keep my mind right. Keep me from worry.
Like so many bloggers, pastors, and teachers I often talk a better game than I play. I’m not trying to tell you what a model Christian I am for turning to prayer first…this time. No, when I write my blog articles, I’m writing them to myself as much as anyone. I fail achingly often, but I thank God I got it right. This time! Can you imagine? I’m in my 60’s, and the prospect of losing my job this close to retirement is scary!
Unless you let God carry the weight.
Once I gave it to God I started thinking clearly. I saw where this could be a good thing and that, due to the overall situation, I’m probably as safe as one can expect to be. If I do lose my job, well, there’s something I told a friend just yesterday…
God is already in the future. He’s just patiently waiting for me to get there. He’s just up there, around the bend. I can’t see Him or what the rest of the road looks like, but I know He’s there paving the way for me.
Jesus knew this.
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12
Prayer was His means of first resort. After a long day of preaching and healing, prayer was Jesus’ maintenance shop. His tank was filled, tires changed, windows cleaned…you get the analogy.
Can you imagine praying all night? Can you imagine how much you might benefit from a marathon prayer session like that?? I sometimes go to church during the week and sit in the sanctuary alone to talk to God. I’ll maybe go the better part of an hour. Barely. I need practice on how to pray effectively, patiently, and deliberately.
Especially deliberately. Let’s be honest – we all have “squirrel” moments during prayer. Then we suddenly come to the realization that we’ve just put the Supreme Creator and Ruler of the Universe…on hold!
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42
Luke tells us here that prayer isn’t necessarily a solitary activity. It can be a community event. How many prayer vigils can you think of?
It is based in God’s Word, hence my frequent urgings to read the bible! There are a lot of great things to learn from Scripture, including prayer. When I searched for passages about prayer, BibleGateway.com came up with 187 references to prayer!
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Acts 12:5
Did the Christian community launch an escape plan for Peter? Did they try to mount a legal defense or even plan to bust him out of the clink? Nope! They huddled up and prayed their hearts out! It was their means of first resort!
The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29
Don’t be shy about asking fellow Christians to pray for you! When my situation arose this week, I asked for prayers!
And let’s not just use prayer in times of adversity. Remember to pray with joy and thanksgiving during the best of times also! We should lay down in our beds every night and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the day, our lives, our health, our jobs, and all of the people God has blessed us with! Most of all, thank Him for being your God, creating you, and forgiving you through the unimaginable sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
With that in mind, prayer should be the means of first and last resort, bookends to every day and filler for everything in between!