We have all been there; at our wit’s end, dealing with a load so heavy that even Superman would say, “No thanks, that’s too much for me.” We feel nothing can be done and there is nowhere to turn. So, we muddle through our days carrying our burdens, allowing them to destroy us inside and out. Our work suffers, our relationships suffer, a normal night’s sleep is spent tossing and turning. Worry overcomes us, doubt consumes us, and the feeling of being alone overshadows any hope of getting over the unmovable mountain standing before us.
Some of us push through life trying to solve our issues on our own. We feel that it is our problem to deal with and we are either unwilling or ashamed to ask anyone for help, let alone the One who matters. If you are going through a current struggle, you understand the reality. I am writing to tell you that you are not alone. There are people all around that have shared your despair. There are those who have battled those demons and have overcome them. But your redemption must begin somewhere. I have a suggestion as to where your healing begins.
I have heard on many occasions people say, “Well, all that is left now is to pray.” This statement, in essence, is saying that you have tried every way to get past something and now since things are still not going your way, the last resort is to pray. You may even be saying that now. That you’ve tried all you can think to do to beat down the burden you are carrying, and nothing has worked. So, may as well try praying. It couldn’t hurt.
My friend, I am glad that your are ready for prayer, but you should know prayer should never be the last resort. It should always be the first act. Without prayer, there is no guidance. How are we to know what needs to be within a situation if we do not have proper guidance? Second, we are sure to fail when we try to solve problems on our own. Granted, we may find temporary relief. But it will be just that, temporary. Because true resolution only comes through the proper guidance that prayer can bring.
Prayer is where you start. From there the guidance from the Holy Spirit will direct you on what needs to be done, where you need to go, and what actions are appropriate for the given situation.
God’s guidance will lead to many places. Sometimes it will be to a specific person. Perhaps someone who has been there, done that. Maybe it will be to your pastor/priest/minister. They may have a perspective that can shine a light on what you are experiencing. It could be across the path of a friend or even a stranger with a special word for you. Even a radio station you scan across can have a positive and encouraging message form something a DJ says or a song that plays.
But one thing that is common in all of those, is that prayer opens the door for them to happen. Better yet, prayer opens our hearts for the reception of those things as they are shown to us.
Sometimes our families are the last ones we want to know about a dilemma we are facing. For men, we don’t want to appear weak. We are supposed to be the strong one, the leaders of the family unit. How will it look if we reveal our weakness? Will our kids still look up to us? Will our wives still respect us?
For women, they are ideally supposed to handle anything that comes their way. They juggle so many balls throughout their day, and no one takes notice of how they always seem to get it all done. So, what happens when one of them drops? Will they be ashamed of failing? Will the kids not turn to her out of fear of breaking mom?
Just as prayer can direct us to those in our life we can approach, it can open the door to sharing the load with the family. That person could be a parent, a brother or sister, aunt or uncle, or even an in-law. God can work through anyone to help those who are struggling with similar issues. In fact, this is part of the reason why we are allowed to suffer; so that we can, in turn, help those who will struggle. Especially when that struggling person is an unbeliever.
This goes deeper than just family. A marriage is a unity between husband, wife, and God. It is not a pair; it is triune. A healthy marriage is centered in Christ. A healthy marriage is centered in prayer. Husband and wife focus their eyes on God as they draw closer together. So, when one is hurting, the other can lift them up. Retaining a strong prayer life can help you be more attuned to what your spouse is feeling and know when to reach out.
So, when we are battling something that has come our way, the second place to turn to is our spouse. The first, of course, is to God. Speak to Him plainly and address the trouble you are facing. He can give clarity and help you more easily speak to your spouse about what ails you.
Pride is the first thing that needs to go. It is not manly to be so proud that you will not admit when you are struggling. It is not feminine to be so proud that you cannot express that you need help. This type of pride leads to division. God has placed you with your spouse for a reason, to complement each other. And part of that balance is accepting that neither of you is perfect.
We all will go through troubles. The Bible promises us that. But it also assures us that we have what we need to get through them. Prayer is the tool given to us. Prayer softens our hearts to hear what God has for us and to accept what needs to take place. Prayer gives us peace in the middle of the storm and assures us that everything is going to be alright. Prayer opens the door that allows those little things to happen that steer us back on course.
Prayer is never a last resort; prayer is the first act. Without prayer, we will remain in the fog of confusion. Without prayer, we cannot begin to heal. Without prayer, the enemy will triumph. BUT when we pray, the fog lifts giving way to clarity. The balm is placed on our hurt and healing begins. And when we pray, we overcome the enemy and send him away with his bags packed.