“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6.
“Some Assembly Required.”
If you have assembled something that said “some assembly required” you know there are nuts and bolts and pieces of wood that don’t seem to belong anywhere in particular and it all becomes overwhelming. You are trying to do it all on your own and things are not staying together the way they are supposed to be. And then you stop and you see those directions out of the corner of your eye. You take a deep breath, and you begin again. This time you go slow. When you get lost, as you almost inevitably will in this scenario, you have to circle back and consult your instructions once again. And so it goes.
This is similar to our relationship with God. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been lost in situations where we are discouraged and stressed. It might have been in the midst of a loved one’s untreatable illness. Or we may have been navigating a devastating financial loss. Perhaps it was in the midst of a heart-wrenching relationship struggle. No matter the circumstances, we have found ourselves desperate and looking for the Christian instruction manual, the Bible, for peace and comfort. And then we come to the conclusion that all we can do is pray. We pray, it seems, as our last resort. We turn to it because everything else has failed and we reluctantly admit human effort and wisdom is not enough. And so we pray that God will do what we can not. The question is do we pray first or only as a last resort?
What if we approached prayer as if it were the key ingredient to the “assembly required”solution, not just the after-thought? What if we were to pray as though we were seeking the help of a God who loves us and who has both the compassion and the power to intervene?
When we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, our first response can and should be to pray. When we pray we express our helplessness to the one who is ever-present in times of trouble: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1). And then we wait and watch and trust.
Pour out your heart to God. Just share with God what’s on your heart. Praise, confession, thankfulness, pray for others, guidance – all of these things, plus whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through…whatever is on your heart…pour it out to God. Whatever it is, I promise He’s big enough to handle it.
We need to take time to listen to God, and that’s what the written Word of God is for. Give God the chance to speak, to guide and direct you through His Word.
Jesus knew our tendency to try everything else first before we pray. He encouraged His followers to break out of that pattern and to go to God first, not last when “some assembly is required.” “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
- What do you do when “some assembly is required” in your life?
- Do you pray first or last? What can you do this week to improve your prayer life?