By Michael Risley
It was a beautiful summer evening and Joanie and I were enjoying a picnic with our friends, Buddy and Susie. Suddenly, Buddy grabbed his throat with panic in his eyes. We could tell he couldn’t breathe—seemingly from a food obstruction.
Joanie jumped up from the table and performed the Heimlich maneuver on Buddy, causing the obstructing food to pop out like a cork. Wow! It happened so quickly and we all gave thanks to the Lord for the outcome—especially Buddy!
Life can be like that, can’t it? One minute you’re enjoying a relaxed picnic and the next minute a life-or-death situation arises. Thankfully, one of the most important “emergency tools” God gives us when this happens is prayer.
Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Devote yourselves means to be steadfast, which means we are to be persistent in prayer. True prayer also involves prayer with an alert mind, which means we should be vigilant in looking for things that need prayer.
Let me suggest two significant ways you should pray for others and for yourself… two prayers that can transform your life:
- Pray to draw near to God. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (ESV). Everyone’s greatest need is God, whether they live or die! So when you or your friends need healing from cancer or some other overwhelming challenge, certainly go to God in prayer. However, don’t just pray for the obvious problem. Pray that their tough circumstances would help draw them nearer to God.
- Pray for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” All of us face many difficult decisions throughout our lives. How foolish if we don’t ask the Lord for His counsel to know what to do.
So no matter what happens, don’t just stand there. Pray something! And watch God work in life-changing ways as only He can.
Want more encouragement and inspiration to help you finish well and make each day count? Listen to more from Dr. Michael Risley on the Meaningful Moments podcast.