There are a lot of challenges out there. The ice bucket challenge, the Charlie challenge (can we just pour cold water on that one already?!) etc. The results can raise money for a cause, awareness of an issue or in the Charlie case, raise the hair on your head and a mess of activity that I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy (can anyone say “run from this” enough?) Anyway, I have done a lot of thinking about what challenge could have the most effect and bring about the greatest change. It is very simple.
I really hate to mention it because you have heard it, read it and I fear you will be saying in your best New Jersey accent “yeah, yeah, yeah” super fast, only to move on leaving the word hanging in the air. Trusting you won’t do that and you won’t leave, I will venture on. First let me enlighten you about all that it can change:
Worry, fear, anxiety, depression, obstacles, difficult people, annoying people, toxic people, fill-in-the-blank people, your own attitude about people, circumstances, your attitude about circumstances, health issues, your attitude about health issues, finances and relationships. It can give you direction, wisdom, guidance, perseverance, help, comfort, strength, courage….the list is endless.
What can change all of those things? What challenge could be so effective it could provide that amount and level of change? Hopefully I have baited you like the children’s Sunday School teacher who asked, “what is brown, furry and has a long tail?” One of the students answered, “Sounds like a squirrel ….but I will say Jesus!”
Given that Jesus is the right place to start and hopefully we have that answer down, we continue on with His challenge. Drum roll please…..here it is!
*”And pray in the spirit on all kinds of occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” Ephesians 6:18
*”Jesus replied, what is impossible with man is possible with God” Luke 18:27
*”Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
*”Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever amen!” Ephesians 3:20,21
*This is the confidence that we have, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”. 1 John 5:14
So, yeah, yeah, yeah…you guessed it! Prayer! Simple, powerful, life-changing, God moving prayer! Such an obvious “well, duh” answer yet one of the hardest things for us to do! Often because of our desire to control the results or our own doubts that get in the way.
What would it look like to take everything to God in prayer, like the old hymn says? Would we see lives change? People change? Us change? Solutions to problems present themselves? Provisions for needs come about? Strained relationships worked out? Strength and peace replacing anxiety and fear? Instead of venting about the difficult person or circumstance, we could save our breath and put it into a prayer to the one who has the answers. After all, He has the ability to see 10,000 things while we only see 3 (credit John Piper for that one!)
I will say that the more you practice praying about everything the easier it becomes. It turns into conversations with God that cause the people in the car next to you to wonder if you are singing with the radio or talking to yourself? Go ahead, pray for them too while you are at it, who knows how it might change their life?!
P.S. And don’t forget to thank Him for the results!
P.P.S. Hang on for the ride! Prayer changes things and most often it changes us!