Too Tired to Pray
"Then I prayed to the God of heaven..." Nehemiah 2:4b (NIV)
I'm the survivor of some tough challenges. Challenges with a sting that won't quit! As one day fades into the next, I wonder how I will have the energy to make it through. These challenges can steal my energy, my zest for life and my belief that things could change.
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 and 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 sometimes 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. I am tired of expelling my energies trying to make a difference, only to find myself right back where I was. When a situation robs me of spiritual, mental and physical energy, I feel too tired to pray.
Until I remember a man in the Bible who 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. He worked hard each day trying to make a difference. But, unlike me, this man was not too tired to pray.
Nehemiah wept and mourned over the seemingly hopeless and ruined condition of Jerusalem when the exiles returned home from captivity in Babylon. He was motivated to help his people rebuild. Having the favor of the king and the presence of God on his side, you wouldn't think the assignment would be a challenge. However, government officials made it their personal business to undermine the rebuilding. They leered and jeered and attempted to defeat the progress every step of the way. Nehemiah responded to each insult and obstacle the same way: he prayed.
For Nehemiah and the Israelites, prayer 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.
Nehemiah's prescription for those who are overwhelmed can be remembered easily with the acronym SAP (Stop and Pray). Interestingly, 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.
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 currently in a tough life challenge? Do I really believe prayer can change it? Why or why not?
Nehemiah made prayer his first choice, not his last resort.
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)