We need to be a family of believers that prays for each other. A mom or a dad that pleads for the hearts of their children. A husband or a wife united in Christ, standing on the covenant of marriage and the grace of God. Alone. Together. A community, family, marriage on our knees.
Yet here we are, doing everything but. Spending time reading diddly squat –
– blog posts, online recipes, all these a necessity;
bright screens, Facebook, but not THE book.
We need to admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak – speaking with boldness, by way of a reminder, but always with grace.
Get off your couch, get off your phone, spend time RIGHT HERE, with God, alone.
Put aside your agenda, the things you’ve “got to do” – or even just the things you use to fill the quiet spaces – leave them, be still.
Your children, they’re watching. Your friends are, too. God tells us to strive – not once, but twice – strive, STRIVE together in our prayers.
“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit,
to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,”
Yet we think that praying once is ok. Twice is great! Maybe three times a week and we’ve got it.
But we should never stop. Prayer should inconvenience us until it delights us. Prayer should interrupt our thinking and our “schedule” until it becomes a complete and absolute normal. Prayer should be something we struggle in and fight for, never letting go of – to the glory of God!
We take time to build up our muscles, to get healthy, get strong – running marathons, exercising, weight lifting. But these exercises don’t matter if we aren’t running THE RACE before us.
“let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to
Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated
at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The battle’s won, we are free. Hallelujah! But the enemy still prowls around, seeking to devour us, make us stumble and fall, destroy our faith as we distance ourselves from God. You’d think it wouldn’t be so easy to fall, that we would be stronger, strong enough – but we are weak.
Discouragement drags us down. Defeat lays us flat. Weariness drives us to frustration and our drive to…. just drive, takes us places we don’t want to go.
I faced a major struggle on Saturday. Frustration, failure and fear – put them all together with fatigue and it was quickly becoming a recipe for disaster. I cried. I prayed. I sang. Repeat.
Yet still my heart suffered. Still my soul weakened. Still the discouragement mounted. I stayed off social media, save to text to a friend for prayer. I stayed off my computer, my phone, and opened God’s word, spent time with him alone.
Still, I struggled. Fought, fell, strengthened, got up again.
In all our physical training we neglect to focus on the one part of our bodies that needs exercising the most – the one place we fall hardest and yet find our strength.
Strengthen your knees.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,and make straight paths for your feet,
so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Even with my heart yearning, seeking, doing the right thing, strengthening my knees, crying out to God to help me, deliver me – still I struggled.
But in HIM, we stand.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed;
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Do you struggle? Struggle against what your flesh wants to do? Struggle against the easy way out? Struggle against defeat and discouragement to rise above it – on your knees?
“The only thing that prevents me from praying more is me. It’s my own inflated sense of self-importance, the elevation of my work, of my agenda, that keeps me from prayer-communion. That’s called idol worship. I don’t pray enough because I’m practicing idol worship.”
Strengthen your knees. Your family needs you to. YOU need you to. Even with our mind and heart focused on our freedom in Christ, we struggle. And a struggle is ok – so long as you don’t give in! Keep pressing on, leaning in, falling hard – on your knees.
My pastor preached a straight-to-the-heart message yesterday that helped me to see where and how I had been weakened and fallen – the causes of discouragement, and the responses that bring us victory. It’s the first part in a series called Battleground: Fight For Your Family. Please listen!
And if you need encouragement in the area of prayer, ask for it! I’ve never met a believer who wasn’t willing to pray for another. Chances are you’ll BOTH be a blessing and find yourselves strengthened. Just ask, and just do it!
Get into the habit, allowing the discipline to become a delight. Start with praying for yourself and your family – by name, pray for your children, your spouse, your lost loved ones. What to pray?
(from Pastor Paul’s message:)
- time and priorities
- friends and relationships
To get you started:
My friend, Rebecca, has a heart for encouragement and prayer. She’s put together this free prayer journal for Mother’s Day . just do it!
If you’re struggling: A 12 Day Devotional Journey to Restored Hope
Pray together. Pray alone. But whatever you do, don’t neglect to come before the throne.
Strengthen your knees.
P.S. I am praying for you. Would you hear my heart in this? I write this as much for myself as for you! We’re in this together. Go to him!