"Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
- Romans 12:12 MSG
When one of my husband's friends came to visit us recently, he and I got involved in some "lively discussions" about right and wrong, and the Bible's perspective on certain issues. I've know this man for many years, and in all that time, I've watched him struggle with his faith. It was obvious to me that there was a part of him that wanted to believe, so when he continually asked me questions about God and the Bible, I would take the time and trouble to try to minister the truth to him. On this most recent occasion, I had to give him what I call a "spiritual spanking," and by the end of the evening, I thought for sure he would never want to speak to me again. After he left, my husband told me that he said, "I love your wife! She makes so much sense, and I always feel better after talking to her!"
There's nothing wrong with using our faith to be spared from trials. But most of the time, we will need to use our faith to "go through" trials. Jesus assured us that we would experience trials, tribulations, and distress in this world, but He also assured us that we would have the gift of His presence when we did. (John 16:33; 14:18) David had a revelation of this truth, and he expressed it in Psalm 23, when he wrote: "Yea, though I WALK THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4 NKJV) I've discovered that it can make all the difference to "pray ourselves through" these difficult times. We do that by saturating our challenging situations and circumstances in prayer. The apostle Paul wrote, "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV) For the believer, prayer should be like breathing, especially during times of trial. As we keep in constant communication with the Lord, we draw continually upon His divine wisdom, comfort, and strength. And we make it clear to Him that we are relying heavily upon His help. We can pray simple prayers straight from our hearts, such as: "Lord, I'm trusting You; please strengthen me." And we can pray God's Word back to Him, holding His promises up to Him in faith, expecting Him to act on our behalf because of His faithfulness.
When a dear friend of mine told me about some daunting circumstances that she might have to face, I told her that I would agree in prayer with her that she would be spared from the trouble that she feared. When I discovered that she would, indeed, have to "go through" her own dark valley, I reassured her with the words, "We'll pray you through it." When I pray someone through a trial, I feel as though I am walking through it with them, and I am reminded of Paul's words in Philippians 4:14 (MSG): "It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles." Likewise, when I know that others are praying ME through difficult times, I feel as though they are walking beside me each step of the way, and it gives me great comfort.
What intimidating circumstances lie before YOU today? Let me issue you a challenge straight from the Word of God--"Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder"! (Romans 12:12 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You've equipped me with Holy Spirit power to be an overcomer. In times of trouble, teach me how to draw on Your strength, courage, and peace through prayer, so that I won't become fearful, doubtful, or discouraged. From now on, when I'm faced with a frightful situation, help me to encourage myself with the affirmation, "I'll pray myself through it!"
- J. M. Farro