Think about it: what is the first thing you do when you feel stressed, sad, afraid, or embarrassed? When I start feeling sad or anxious the first thing I tend to do is stuff the emotion away (“It’s not a big deal”), and then try to solve the problem myself.
Can you relate? There are many problems with handling emotions this way, but one big one is that avoiding our feelings will really hinder our prayer life.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)
Really giving over our worries and cares to God takes humility. It takes admitting that you aren’t Wonder Woman – you can’t do it all! Humility is admitting you can’t take on the pressures you feel at work or school by yourself. You can’t take on all the feelings you have about your family by yourself. You can’t take on financial problems, physical or emotional health problems, or take on fears about the future by yourself.
We need God to handle all the things that go on in our lives, but it’s very easy to deceive ourselves into thinking we can handle life on our own. We convince ourselves that we can hold up that heavy problem, and then when we collapse under the pressure we get mad at God or people for not lightening our load. But we forget we made the choice to go it alone.
Prayer is a choice to humble ourselves and admit we can’t go through life alone. It’s a way we show submission to God. Prayer is a way for the heavy loads in our lives to bring us closer to God instead of farther away from him.
Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either.
2 Corinthians 1:9-11 (MSG)
Do you trust God totally in every area of your life? If not, you are trusting more in yourself, and when you stop and think about it trusting yourself isn’t the best idea. God has the power to raise people from the dead … Last time I checked most of us don’t have that ability. So doesn’t it make more sense to trust him instead of your own strength or wits?
The above scripture says prayer rescues us. Even if you don’t need physical rescuing, prayer rescues us from feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and unbelieving.
What do you need rescuing from? Do you pray about those things? Or have you given up praying about those areas of your life?
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
Luke 18:1 (NLT)
The Bible says we should ALWAYS pray and NEVER give up. We can’t give up hope that miracles can happen and anything can change.
So what should we focus our prayers on? Sometimes I don’t know where to start in my prayers – do you ever feel so full of emotions, thoughts, and feelings you don’t know where to even begin?
I picked 3 essential things we need to have powerful prayers:
1. Pray about your burdens
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalm 55:22 (NLT)
Pray about what’s burdening you – let God carry the heavy load. He can do it, we can’t! What are you burdened by – no matter how big or small?
2. Pray about temptations
There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
Luke 22:40 (NLT)
We need to be proactive and pray about the things we are tempted by so that we won’t give into sin. That means in order to have a powerful prayer, we need to be aware of our sinful nature and praying about our sins each day. Prayer gives us the power to overcome temptation; we don’t have that power on our own. If we avoid praying about sin we will be constantly discouraged by how much we give into it.
We also need to be aware of the things we need each day – confidence, attention, love, and comfort, for example. That way we will turn to God instead of sin for these things.
3. Pray about fruitfulness
9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT)
We need to pray to grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s will. That means understanding what he wants us to do in our lives, not just what we want.
Part of that is praying for other people – praying that our lives will produce good fruit! Who do you want your life to impact? Are you praying for them daily?