Encouragment for Today - Nov. 22, 2010

 November 22, 2010
Too Tired to Pray
Wendy Pope

"Then I prayed to the God of heaven…"

Nehemiah 2:4b (NIV)         

Have you ever been in the midst of an ongoing challenge of life whose sting never ceased? As one day faded into the next, you wondered how you would have the energy to make it through. You looked for direction asking, "What can I do that will make my situation different?"

I have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. I am a survivor of some tough challenges. Challenges that stole my energy, zest for life, and belief that things could change. In fact, I am currently living such a challenge and have been for several years.

During difficult days my godly friends offer wise counsel. They point me to scripture with aspirations of encouraging me and bringing hope to what I deem hopeless. My friends hold me up in prayer. They remind me to pray. However, there are times when the weight of my circumstances are so heavy, when I bow my head to pray I find I am just too tired.

I am tired of moving forward one day, only to run into another obstacle that prohibits progress the next day. I am tired of expelling my energies trying to make a difference, only to find myself right back where I was before. Because this situation robs me of spiritual, mental and physical energy, I feel too tired to pray.

I am too tired to pray until I remember a man in the Bible. This man found himself in a challenge that had the potential to rob him of spiritual, mental, and physical strength. He ran into one obstacle after another and worked hard each day trying to make a difference. Unlike me, this man was not too tired to pray.

The man is Nehemiah. He wept and mourned over the condition of Jerusalem after the exiles returned from Babylon. He was motivated to help his people rebuild. Having the favor of the king and the presence of God on his side, one would assume the assignment would not be a challenge. However, government officials Sanballat and Tobiah, made it their personal business to undermine the rebuilding progress. Nehemiah responded to each insult and obstacle the same way: he prayed.

Nehemiah and the Israelites found praying was the needed prescription to revive them, restore their energy and continue building! Through the power of prayer their enemies were defeated and the wall was rebuilt. What a wonderful lesson for anyone struggling through life's challenges, too tired to pray. Let's examine this prescription for those who are overwhelmed.

We can simplify Nehemiah's prayer prescription as SAP (Stop and Pray). According to Dictionary.com the word sap means energy and vitality. Vitality is defined as exuberant physical strength or mental vigor; power to live and grow. Nehemiah had it right. He made prayer his first choice, not his last resort. He discovered prayer would revive his spirit and restore the mental and physical energy needed to overcome challenges.

Do you find yourself facing a challenge? Have you felt just too tired to pray? Join me today as I SAP— stop and pray. Let's allow the power of prayer to revive our spirit and restore our physical and mental vigor. By following Nehemiah's example we will have the energy needed to defeat the enemy and thrive in the midst of our challenges.

Dear Lord, through the power of prayer, today's challenge can be tomorrow's victory. Forgive me when I make prayer my last resort instead of my first choice. Help me remember the truths You have taught me today. Help me SAP when adversity comes my way. Thank You for prayer and the power I receive when I turn to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

The One Year Chronological Bible

Visit Wendy's blog to find out how to be part of the amazing online study through The One Year Chronological Bible. Read testimonials of those involved in this study for two years and hear Wendy share how this Bible has changed her life and her love for God's Word.

What to do in the W.A.I.T: Finding Contentment in God's Pauses and Plans by Wendy Pope
Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents: Words to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say by Susanne Scheppmann

Application Steps:
Write the word SAP and its meaning (energy and vitality) on several note cards. Place them in your home, car, work and Bible, to remind you to SAP.

Each time a difficult situation occurs, no matter how small, SAP.

How do I feel about my prayer life?

Am I willing to SAP whenever a situation occurs? If not, why?

Am I currently in a tough life challenge? Do I really believe prayer can change it? Why or why not?

Power Verses:

Daniel 9:19a, "O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act!" (NLT)

Habakkuk 1:5, "Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (NIV)

Ephesians 3:20, "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." (NIV)

Romans 8:26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (NIV) 

 © 2010 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Monday, 22 November 2010.