In life we all go through seasons of challenge and hardship. Being in ministry, I am keenly aware of the struggles that friends and fellow church members are going through emails, text messages, and prayer requests. It is a privilege to pray for our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and even those we don’t personally know who are in need. As I pray my heart often breaks for those on whose behalf I am praying.
However, there is a danger of holding on to the heaviness of prayer requests long after we have lifted them to the Lord in prayer. This not only shows our need to pray for more faith in God’s power, faithfulness, and goodness but also weighs us down with emotional burdens that we don’t need to carry. When God asks us to “cast our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7) He wants our anxieties and cares to be hurled into His lap rather than carried on our own.
He doesn’t want us to reel our worries back to ourselves after we have cast them on Him. He who created the cosmos and knows everything can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Knowing this can give us confidence and comfort as we lift our prayers to Him!
To be clear, it’s okay to feel sad and grieve, but God also invites us to experience His peace that can prevail above and beyond our emotions. As I wrote in my book “The Isaiah Encounter” this involves a deliberate decision to let—allow—the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and very being (see Colossians 3:15). The challenge for Christ followers is to ask and allow God to help us rest in His peace as we pray for His power to be released in our lives and the lives of people we are lifting up in prayer.
In my life, this is an ongoing process, and I realize this tension is part of the spiritual warfare aspect of ministry. However, I believe there is more of God’s peace available in the battle because our Lord Jesus Christ had this in His earthly ministry. The Bible chronicles how Jesus healed people and then moved on to a different place to refresh and do more of the Father’s work. He never let go of the Father’s peace in his life, regardless of the circumstances or challenges before Him. He promised this same peace to us:
“ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14: 27
I had lunch with a fellow pastor earlier this week. During that time he offered some good advice: Don’t hold onto the things you can’t control.
Instead, release those things to God in prayer and let Him do His work in the lives and circumstances of those for whom we are praying. Don’t get me wrong: God often calls us out of our comfort zones to do something tangible for people as the result of our prayers. But there is only One God, and our prayers give Him the invitation and freedom to be glorified—displayed—in those lives of those for whom we have prayed. We can rest and rejoice in this unshakeable truth: God is with us always.
That’s a Truth worth resting in as we worship Him.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”
God bless you.