Editor’s Note: Each week with our Daily Joy postings, you will find posts that encourage us to keep our perspective focused on our great God. The posts will include practical ways to spend time at home, things to consider for our mental and physical health, prayer prompts, ways to be in God’s Word, and a pause for thankfulness in midst of our circumstances. Today, we encourage you to focus some time in prayer.
By Kathleen Harwood
Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Borders are closed. Restaurants are on a “take-out-only” plan. We are being asked to “self-isolate” or “quarantine” at home. The list of things we can no longer do is much larger than the list of things we can do. This is new territory for all of us. But one thing still on the “can do” list is to get outside and walk! As long as you practice “social distancing,” walking has the green light for how to spend part of your day.
One of the things I’ve realized about walking, is that it is a great opportunity to spend uninterrupted time talking to God. At home, especially these days, lots of people are around, devices chime with a new text, computers play everything from music to video games. Time alone to focus and to pray is hard to come by, but once you head outside, you enter a new world. God’s world. And what a perfect setting to talk to Him!
In these unsettling times, we need to talk to God more than ever. Satan knows how vital time alone with God is. He will try to keep us distracted with pressing needs, emerging headlines, idle pursuits, anything so that we put off seeking God. But we can’t possibly know what is best in any and all the wacky circumstances that are coming our way without the wisdom, direction, and power of God. Now more than ever the best thing we can do is carve out time alone to talk with God.
Over the next few weeks, we plan to post encouragement and suggestions for you as you head out the door and spend some time with your Heavenly Father.
One thing I love to do is begin with what is true about God. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and the people were about to be attacked. Jehoshaphat went before the Lord and prayed:
“O Lord, the God of our fathers, are Thou not God in the heavens? And are Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee” (20:6).
How perfect is that! He began with what was true about God. God is God in the heavens. He rules over all the kingdoms of all the nations. All power and might are in God’s hands. No one can oppose God and His plan.
Notice how Jehoshaphat didn’t begin with just what he needed or wanted? He began with who God is and that put into perspective everything he prayed after that. Did he pray for help and protection? Sure. See verses 7-12. But he was able to confidently lay out all his needs before God because he first reminded himself that God was completely in control and able to handle all his needs. I’ve used Jehoshaphat’s words many times to start my prayers, and suddenly the whole desperation of my prayer has calmed down and my need has come into better focus.
After remembering who his God is and specifically naming all the trouble headed his way, Jehoshaphat ended his prayer this way,
“O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee” (20:12).
Like Jehoshaphat, we often feel “powerless” in our circumstances. We, too, “don’t know what to do.” But because we remember we serve a big, almighty God, we can end our prayer like he did, “but our eyes are on Thee.” I encourage you to read the rest of chapter 20 to see how God answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer in powerful and unexpected ways.
What a model to use in framing our prayers! When we remember that God is mightier than the coronavirus, that God rules over the decisions of the nations, that no one will thwart God’s ultimate plans, then we can confidently lay our concerns at His feet and tell Him we, too, are putting our eyes on Him, watching for His leading, His answers, His power, His direction.
I encourage you to head outside today, even just for a few minutes. In the midst of God’s creation, call out to your Father. Remember who He is, ask what’s on your heart, and commit to looking for His direction.