We all have 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 that there is nothing that can be done, nowhere to turn. So, we muddle through our days carrying this burden, allowing it 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 utter feeling of being alone overshadows any hope of getting over this unmovable mountain.
Some of us trod through life trying to solve the issue on our own. We feel that it is our problem to deal with and we are either unwilling or ashamed to ask for help from anyone, let alone the One who matters. If you are going through this struggle, you know how real it is. I am writing to tell you that you are not alone. There are people all around that have shared in your despair. There are those who have battled that demon and have overcome it. 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 is, in essence, 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 have tried all you can think to do to beat down this burden you are carrying, but nothing has worked. So, may as well try praying. It couldn’t hurt.
My friend, that is the wrong mindset to be in. First of all, prayer should never be the last resort. It should always be the first act. Without prayer, there is no guidance. How are you to know what needs to be done about your situation if you do not have proper guidance? Second, you are sure to fail when you try to solve problems on your own. Granted, you may find temporary relief. But it will be just that, temporary. Because true resolution only comes through the proper guidance that prayer can bring.
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Prayer is where you start. From there the guidance of the Holy Spirit will direct you on what you need to do, where you need to go, and how you need to react to what is going on around you.
God’s guidance will lead to many places. Sometimes it will be to a particular 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 stranger with a special word for you. Even a radio station you scan across can have a positive and encouraging message in the form of something a DJ is saying or a song that they play.
But one thing that is common in all of those, is that prayer opens the door for those things to happen. Better yet, prayer opens us up to 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 to our family. 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 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 those balls drop? 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 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 a little deeper than just the family. A marriage is a unity between husband, wife, and God. It is not a pair; it is triune. A healthy marriage is centered on 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. It will give you that spiritual insight to know when something is wrong and when to say something about it.
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 promises us that we have the tools to get through them. Prayer is the main tool we must use. Prayer opens our hearts to what God has for us. Prayer softens our heart 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 to allow those little things to happen that steer us back on course.
Prayer is not 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.