ON QUEST – Commit To Prayer
February 11, 2019
Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 12:9; “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”
Are you ready for the first week of the C-R-A-V-E Challenge? I’m excited; I hope you are too!
Over the next five weeks, we will work our way through five targeted challenges. Each one is designed to build upon the one before and teach new ways of responding to temptation and anxiety. This type of course correction will require us to resist our instinct to follow the paths of least resistance.
Additionally, for this process to be effective, timing is critical. Be sure to seize the moment of opportunity because the choices we make in those first few moments will make or break the final outcome. Don’t miss what I’m saying here, timing is most definitely critical, and we need to be perceptive to its invitation.
Okay, onward and upward we go. I hope you took some time last week to ask what habit, anxiety, or addiction God would have you work on over the next few weeks. Make sure you have a clear target. Keep it simple. Definable. But pinpoint a specific area of struggle.
Next, I need you to dig deep and identify the craving that is driving the behavior or anxiety. What makes you do what you do? Or perhaps it’s a deep fear or unmet need that keeps you from doing what you want to be doing?
In its most basic form, craving is primal. It itches the soul until we scratch it. It drives us into the wilderness and abandons us to fend for ourselves. It’s a hungry hunter, seeking satisfaction. It probably developed as a result of something painful, unfair, or unexpected in your life.
Take a few minutes to pause and ponder. Let the craving speak for itself. What does it say to you? What does it ask of you? Name it for what it is because understanding our craving is consequential. Without this knowledge, we will continue to chase the rabbit of immediate gratification into the lost world of regret.
Once you have identified the craving, walk through all the routines connected to the habit, anxiety, or addiction. Discern patterns of thought and behavior that act as cues or triggers. It could be a place, a person, a feeling, a smell—anything that activates the craving cycle.
Please don’t hurry over this exercise of self-discovery. Defining cravings and triggers are essential to the process of transformation. We will use them as guideposts through the entire process. If they don’t come right away, don’t give up. Keep digging till you find what you are looking for.
Once you have your guideposts setup, you are ready to entertain the first challenge. It represents the first letter of our acronym: C-R-A-V-E, and is essential to position us for change.
Commit To Pray
It sounds simple. And it is simple. Yet, we rarely pursue prayer as a first response. Research shows we have a very small window of opportunity to make a split-second decision when it comes to temptation. Literally, our opportunity to shift the course of our action happens in the blink of an eye.
Given these grave insights, prayer needs to be our first response. Prayer is a posture. It is an intimate expression of surrender. If our soul could take on the posture of surrender, it would naturally assume one of prayer.
Granted, surrender is a big word. A scary word that gets a bad rap. It feels weak, anemic even as it beats heavy against the cultural current of independence. And yet, it is our ticket to freedom. Freedom from the parts of us that are running rogue in directions we don’t necessarily want to go.
Although prayer has many benefits, when it comes to changing bad habits, arresting anxieties, and alleviating addictions, prayer is pivotal because prayer is our power.
As if that weren’t enough, not only is prayer our power source, but prayer creates the space for God’s power to work. In essence, it forges the room we need to change our mind.
All of this takes place in those first critical moments of temptation. Where choice is challenged and instinct demands validation. This is where prayer acts first like a pause button. Then, a power booster.
In turn, the space prayer provides is a pocket of potential. In it, we are postured to receive divine revelation and power that we do not possess on our own.
Whether your struggle is a simple annoyance or a daily battle, prayer is the key to freedom. It quiets a chaotic mind, feeds a hungry soul, and satisfies the deep desires that drive behavior.
Every temptation brings with it a short window of opportunity. Whether we feel like we have a choice or not, it is in this split-second of temptation where we are forced to make a choice. Prayer slows us down, provides the space for change, and equips us with power to turn the tide of our impulses.
It’s our chance for change. Don’t let it pass you by. Access it. And activate it.
Change is hard; yes. Change is uncomfortable; yes. Change will stretch you, confront and convict you. But it is so worth it. God has good work to do in you. And prayer activates the potential for change.
Lord God, help me to surrender in that split-second moment when I’m presented with a choice. Fill me with your power to resist, steady my feet to stand firm, and accept your power to activate change. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
This week, we are only focussing on our first challenge and it is to practice the posture of surrender by praying a simple prayer with every temptation or anxiety. Sometimes it’s all we can do to just say, “Help me, Jesus.”
Change is not about willpower, but about Hispower. And this QUEST is not about perfection, but progression!
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed and remember, when in doubt, pray your way out!