Where I live, we know about storms. We get a variety of storms and natural disasters here in Alabama. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and believe it or not, even the occasional ice storm.
But where I live in central Alabama, tornadoes are the storm my family has to watch out for the most. Just a few weeks ago, we had to go to my parents’ house to their underground shelter during a tornado warning. That tornado destroyed a church building built in the 1800’s (among other properties) in a nearby town.
As bad as these storms of nature are in our lives, I wish they were the only kind we had to deal with. Sadly, they are not.
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Life is full of all kinds of storms.
Life is going along really great one day. And the next day, bam! Life turns upside down with a cancer diagnosis. Or a fatal car crash. Or a heart attack. Leaving a family reeling from the shock and disbelief.
Life was calm just the day before. And we are left baffled. How can life change so drastically from one moment to the next?
How can that loved one just be gone?
Our world is shaken.
It seems lately that our church family is just being battered with one loss after another. One dire sickness after another.
But Jesus warned us that life would be this way.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Jesus tells us life won’t be easy. Life will be challenge after challenge, change after change, storm after storm.
My pastor used to say,
You are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm.Pastor Jared Decker
In our reading this week in Mark chapter 4, Jesus’ disciples are going about their normal lives, traveling by ship across the Sea of Galilee, when a storm blows in, threatening to destroy them. The waves are raging. And filling the ship!
And what was the disciples’ reaction?
Immediate faith and rest?
No. They reacted like many of us would, and do. Sheer panic.
But then they remembered Jesus. And sought Him out.
And that was a good start. But they didn’t continue well. They didn’t pray the way that they should have.
So How Should We Pray in Life’s Storms?
The first way to pray during our storms is to pray…
Always believing that He loves us and cares.
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7
This verse is always true, no matter what storms we face. Jesus always, always, always loves and cares about us and what is happening in our lives.
The disciples lost sight of that truth for a little bit. And went so far as to accuse Him of not caring.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? Mark 4:38
In other words the disciples prayed and asked Jesus, “Don’t you even care?”
They made the mistake of listening to Satan’s lie.
And isn’t that just about the first temptation we face when we are blind-sided by life? Satan whispers, “God doesn’t love you, or this would not have happened. He just doesn’t care.”
When hard times come, it’s OK to have questions.
But it is never OK to question God’s integrity, to question His Word and promises.
So, instead of accusing God, we simply pray…
Father, I know You love me and want only good for me, because that is Who You are and that is what your Word tells me. Thank You for loving me, for caring about me as your daughter. Thank You for your promise to be with me always, so that I can trust that You are with me now.
This account is so very comforting to me when I note that all along Jesus was right there in the ship with them!
The second way to pray in our storms is to pray…
Always believing that He can help.
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
Jesus is Creator God. He made all this world and put all the laws of nature in effect. He keeps all the planets in just the exact place they must be. And keeps the earth tilted on its axis at just the precise angle to ensure that we aren’t too far from, or too close to, the sun at any given time.
Whenever I stop my panic long enough to consider these truths, I wonder how I could ever doubt His ability to help with my crises of life. For, what seems like insurmountable storms and problems, are just nothing for Him.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20
So, instead of doubting God, we simply pray…
Father, I believe that You can do anything. Nothing is impossible with You. You have all power in Heaven and in earth. And You will do all Your good pleasure. Help me in my hour of great need. Be my strength, my peace, and my deliverer. I know that You can change this situation. That You can heal any disease. I know that You can provide whatever means to deliver me from this storm. Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.
The third way to pray in our storms of life is to pray…
Always believing that His way is perfect.
Sometimes it’s hard to have faith when we know that God can, but we don’t know if He will. But even if He doesn’t calm our storms in the way that we pray He will, we must remember…
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalms 18:30
What if God’s plan is not to make this storm go away, to calm the sea for me in this situation? To heal my loved one? To do what I’m hoping that He will?
And that really is where the rubber meets the road of our faith.
It was not God’s will when I cried out to Him over and over to have mercy and heal my 35 year old pastor that night last December. I cried and cried and beseeched God, telling Him how much we needed our friend and pastor.
But God decided to take him anyway.
Did that mean God didn’t care? That God didn’t have the power to spare his life and give him back to us in perfect health?
Sometime in the following days, I found myself again thinking of my pastor. He was such a great guy, very approachable, super friendly and accepting of people. I could go on. He meant such a lot to so many.
In one of those moments of devastation, I began to pray again. “God, I wish…”
I couldn’t go on. I realized that the thought—“I wish”—was stirring up all kinds of wrong feelings, destroying the peace I’d had moments before. Realizing then how I should have begun my prayer, I started over.
So, instead of praying for our wishes, our will, we simply pray…
Father, I know that You are God, not me. That You are perfect in all your ways, trustworthy, and good. You are love and grace and mercy. And You want good for us your children. I know that You will make ALL things work together for good to those who love You, to those who are the called according to your purpose. It is Your will, Your purpose that I must desire. Not my own. I do want Your will on earth, as it is in heaven. So, please help me rest in faith in Your love and care. And trust that You are working Your perfect and good purpose in all this pain and loss. May You be glorified.
Then I remembered Psalms 18:1—I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
And this is where we must land in our thoughts and prayers, when life deals us a devastating blow. A prayer of surrender, faith, and love.
Is life out of control right now for you? I pray that you, too, will be able to pray like David did and love God anyway…no matter what.
This kind of prayer will grant you the peace and rest and strength that you and I need in order to stay strong in the faith and continue on “without wavering”, bringing glory to our God. Even when our storms rage on.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23
Remember, others are watching us go through our trials.
Maybe those who don’t even know our Saviour. Therefore, it greatly matters how we navigate these times. Praying in the right way will surely give us the right heart we need to be able to continue to be used of God and be a blessing to others, even in the midst of our own pain.
If you are in need of prayer, I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment below, or use the message form Here.
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
Are you in a storm right now? Or coming out of one? How are you preparing for the next one? Do you find it harder or easier to pray in your storms of life? Let us know in the comments below how we may pray for you.
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