First Responders

How long do you put up with something that is bothering you before you decide to pray about it? Are you even now, at this moment, fretting about something instead of taking it to the Lord?

I know I often wrestle with a situation or problem in my own mind and complain to my friends long and hard about it before I pray. I take the rocky road to peace instead of the smooth shortcut. I am a self-sufficient fool.

“Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Why do you suppose God told us to do that?

Not praying over our problems is like gashing our head open and refusing to seek medical treatment. Instead of calling 911 or going to the hospital and having a doctor disinfect the wound and stitch us up, we sit in our recliner at home and worry about what we should do to stop the blood pouring down our face. We call or text our friends about the problem and ask their advice on how to solve the painful throbbing that is making us feel faint or nauseous. Only after we have tried everything else first and nothing has helped do we finally decide to go see the Great Physician, taking it to the Lord in prayer.

God wants us to be first responders in the matter of prayer. If we will seek Him first, rather than as a last resort when we experience pain, confusion, sickness or discouragement, He promises to give us peace. Not just any peace, but the kind of peace that doesn’t make sense in light of our troubled circumstances. The peace Christ gives enables us to experience joy in the midst of our trials and pain. We can smile, despite the cancer diagnosis. We can trust Him to provide for us when we lose our job. We can be fearless in the valley of the shadow of death. We can have hope when we find ourselves alone and the darkness closes in, knowing that He promises to be with us.

Satan, however, wants to distract us from praying and keep us stewing over our problems as long as possible so that we do not tap into God’s healing power and perfect peace. He enjoys seeing our minds in frenzied, chaotic turmoil and our hearts writhing in pain. Refuse to let him win. Not when, but before all else fails, follow directions:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

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