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Well, All We Can Do is Pray...

Posted on July 11 2021

"Well, all we can do is pray..." We have all either said it or heard it, right? This phrase has always bothered me and now I am thinking about exactly why it doesn't feel good, right or even respectful to say this. First of all, when we say things like "Well, I guess all we can do is pray..." it minimizes the value of one of the most powerful tools and weapons that God has given us. It makes it sound as though prayer is an inferior last resort. Quite the opposite is true - prayer should not be a "last resort", prayer should be a "first resort"!  Prayer should be part of our daily life, not just something we do when all else fails. Especially in today's world as we deal with the pandemic and other atrocities that we seem to be hearing about daily, I have heard people saying this more and more. It makes it even more important to understand what Scripture tells us about this topic. 

We are given instruction in prayer in Ephesians 6:18. "Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints." Often, we turn to prayer as a last resort, when our efforts as humans don't give us the desired results. When we have done everything else we can do, we hand it over to God. This is really quite backwards because scripture tells us that God wants us to reach out to Him for every need all along the way. Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." When we get to the end of our own efforts, we realize that God is our only hope. He always was. He was there all the time, waiting patiently for us.

The other aspect of this phrase that really bothers me is that it indicates a position of defeat versus a position of strength. I love the expression "We stand tallest when we are on our knees." God invites us into something precious and powerful, a deepening of our relationship with him. He wants us to share our needs and our deepest thoughts with him. Prayer is based on God's love for us, we need to remember that He is there for us in every way possible. Not to throw up our hands and come to Him with a defeated mindset because everything else has failed. We need to enter into prayer with faith and confidence that our Heavenly Father is always there to love, listen and guide us. He was always there, the problem lies with us. Let's make it a point to turn to God first, not last. 
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