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First We Pray

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Have you ever considered how extraordinary it is that we get to talk to God regularly? Sometimes, I sit back in awe when I think about how incredibly cool it is that God not only hears my prayers but that Scripture encourages us to pray! 

I do have to admit, though, that it’s way easier to praise God and thank Him when things are going well. It’s not difficult to come before Him when I’m walking through a rocky season, either. But seriously, when things seem bad—like, really bad—when I see no way out, prayer is not always top-of-mind for me. I’m more inclined to turn within as if my own strength is going to get me somewhere. Or I’ll turn to other people, hoping they can provide the right answers. 

I don’t totally leave God out of the equation, but I definitely don’t always think to go to Him first! And how silly is that, but perhaps you, too, find yourself looking everywhere but up for help. 

As I develop and mature in my relationship with Christ, I’m working on change. I want my go-to at all times to be my heavenly Father. I want my first thought to be Jesus. I want to sit in a posture of humble submission to God no matter the circumstances. Does that sound like you, too? Good news: Jesus provides the perfect example for us!

Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice(Luke 23:32-34)

Jesus, nailed to the cross, in the most dire and desperate situation a man could find himself in, cries out to God. Not only does He pray, but He asks our Father to forgive those who crucify Him. The matchless humility and tender love shown here by Jesus are astonishing. Later, in verse 46, Jesus uses His last breath to talk to His Father: Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words, he breathed his last.

Despite the situation, despite the environment, and despite the pain, Jesus went to the Father. His first course of action is never to go within, never to retreat with His buddies for advice, but rather to consult our heavenly Father first. The Son of God, who is God Himself, went to the Father first. What a magnificent example He’s left for each of us to follow! 

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit changes my heart so that I will look upward and not inward in times of trouble. I’m surrounding myself with a strong community that points me toward Jesus instead of entertaining gossip or pity-party sessions I may be inclined to throw. Immersing myself in God’s Word helps His truth come to mind first over my own fleshly thoughts. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I invite you to pray this prayer with me!

Heavenly Father, thank You for being ever-present in my life. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell within my heart—giving me access to community with You. Holy Spirit, change my heart. When I face difficulties, help me to consistently run to You first! Help me to strip away the belief that I can do things on my own. You are mighty, strong, and powerful. Help me to run toward You in all circumstances—my praise and my tears. Allow me to always feel Your loving embrace and everlasting presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About The Author

Maria Stockman

Maria is a Digital Copywriter at CBN who is passionate about using her writing to present the gospel and encourage someone to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus! In addition, she's an avid sports, fitness, and holistic health fan who lives outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

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