Encouragement for Today - Nov. 21, 2008

November 21, 2008


The Best I Can Do

Marybeth Whalen


“Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is any one happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” James 5:13 (NIV)



I waited for my friend’s small group leader to finish her conversation with another lady before I shyly asked her if she had heard from my friend, whose husband had left her just a few weeks before. I knew my friend was probably not going to be at Bible study but I wanted to make sure she was doing okay. Her small group leader told me she had spoken with my friend and that she was, considering the circumstances, doing well. I told her I was glad to hear that, and asked if she knew of anything I could do for my friend during this difficult trial. Her leader put her hand on my shoulder and replied, “I told her that people will say that all they can do is pray. But really, that’s the best we can do. We can pray for her. We can storm the gates of heaven on her behalf. She needs our prayers right now so we will just keep praying.”


As I walked away, I thought about our conversation and wondered how many times I had idly commented that praying was “all I could do.” What I meant was that my prayers were a last resort, something to do when there was nothing else I could do – no meals I could bring, no Band-Aids I could apply to the hurt, no actions I could take. And yet, I was missing the best possible response I could have. I needed that reminder that praying is not a last resort, it’s a first response. It’s not the action of a powerless, hopeless person whose hands are tied in every other way. It’s the powerful, Heaven-summoning activity of a warrior who doesn’t want to fight alone. Praying, as I learned that morning, isn’t all I can do, it’s the best I can do.


Are you facing a situation right now that you can’t do anything about? Maybe you are watching someone go through something that you can’t help with. Do you wonder what good it will do to pray? Do you despair of anything changing, or of your prayers helping? Have you, like me, shrugged your shoulders and commented that all you have left is prayer—when really your prayers are exactly what is needed?


Let’s focus today on doing what’s best. Let’s get on our knees for ourselves, our family members, our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our friends and our nation. Let’s focus on the power in our prayers. Our intercession, and nothing more, might be exactly what God desires. Let’s not forget that we can offer the most help when we are on our knees.


Dear Lord, Thank You for being there any time I need to come to You. Thank You for giving us a way to talk to You and for Your promise that You will hear us when we pray. Help me to remember that prayer isn’t all I can do, it’s the best I can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?


31 Days of Prayer by Ruth Myers


Recipe for Christmas Joy e-book by Marybeth Whalen


Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog


Application Steps: 

Is there someone on your heart today who needs your prayers? Spend today lifting that person up, then send them a card telling them that you have been praying and will continue to. Include any verses that God brought to mind as you prayed. You never know when these verses will serve as a powerful comfort or confirmation of what God is doing in their life.



Do you see prayer as the best thing you can do or is it a last resort?

How can you make a shift in attitude and begin to see the power of prayer, going to God first when trouble comes instead of after all other efforts have been exhausted?


Power Verses:

James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV) 


Luke 18:1, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (NIV)


Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (NIV)



© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105



Originally published Friday, 21 November 2008.