A Tale of Two Sticks

As I lay in bed I scratched the itch on top of my head. My fingertips grazed over the sore spot. Damned Bobby Watkins*, I thought to myself. 

How long had I been dealing with this sore area on my head? It’s been over 40 years, I realized.

The long-ago scene easily materialized in my brain. I’d been reliving the incident for over four decades.

I was yucking it up with a couple of my friends on the playground at school. It was September of our 8th grade year and the weather was perfect. We were on our lunch break and everyone was having fun outside.

All of a sudden, I felt a whack on the top of my head. It hurt some, but not a great deal like you might think getting hit in the head would.

Instinctively, I reached up with my right hand to rub the area. I felt blood. I looked at my hand and saw a significant amount of blood on my fingertips. At this point, I had no idea what caused my injury.

I knew this was not a situation I could handle on my own—not with all this blood. I don’t remember what my buddies did or said to me.

Leaving them, I began walking toward the door to the school en route to the office. We didn’t have a school nurse, so the secretary always took care of matters like this.

As it turned out, my injury was not something she could help me with. It was bad enough that I needed medical attention. The secretary called my mom at work to come get me and take me to the doctor in our little town.

I learned from my friends that Bobby Watkins had taken a good-sized stick he found on the playground and decided it would be fun to throw it straight up in the air; it came down smack dab on my head.

The nurse at the doctor’s office had to shave a quarter-sized hole on the side of my head so they could put a few stitches in and apply a bandage.

That was the worst part of the whole ordeal—now I had a bald spot on my head with an ugly white bandage on it.

I strategically combed my hair during this time to try to hide the spot. Eventually, the bandage came off and the stitches came out. Soon, my hair was growing out and before long it didn’t matter anymore.

Now, years later, every time my fingers touch that spot on my head, it is noticeably tender to the touch. Not so much that there’s true pain, but enough that I feel some discomfort.

As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I happened to scratch my head in that exact spot. The stimulus immediately made me think of Bobby Watkins and his senseless act. 

I knew he had died a few years ago, but I wondered what his life had been like over the decades since we graduated.

He had seemed to have a hard life when we were in school, so I reasoned that his adult life had probably followed the same path.

Serves him right for throwing that stick. I knew that was the wrong way to feel, but it was late, I was tired, and I didn’t care at that point. 

I actually did care. I’m not one to wish ill will upon anyone. Hopefully, he had had a good life, filled with joy and all the things that make life fulfilling.

I wish I could say that that was the only incident I’d ever had with Bobby Watkins and a stick, but it wasn’t. 

The other incident, which happened a few years earlier, actually caused me more pain, so much so that I had cried.

When I was younger, I played Little League baseball in the summers. I loved it, and it gave me something to do to alleviate any boredom I might have over the summer break.

One night during a game, our team was on the field and someone on the other team hit a foul ball. Apparently, Bobby got to the foul ball before anyone else did, hoping to make off with it for himself. 

The details are a little hazy, but I had seen him grab the ball, so I told one of the coaches or the umpire or someone in charge that he had it.

He had to surrender the ball and wasn’t too happy about it.

After the game was over, my mom and I were talking to others and making our way to the car to head home.

Well, here came Bobby walking quickly toward me with a branch in his hand. I don’t remember exactly what he said to me but it was something along the lines of, “This is for telling on me about the ball.”

He then swung the branch toward me. He hit me at least a couple of times on my neck and face. I was stunned to say the least, because he had come out of nowhere. 

I’m not sure my mom actually saw it happen, as she had been talking to some of the other moms at that time.

The assault hurt a decent amount and I began crying. I’m not sure if I cried because of the pain or just from the fact that someone would do that to me.

After my mom realized what had happened, she tried to console me, while simultaneously walking me to the car.

The lashes left big, red welts on my neck. I’m not sure how long they were there, but I don’t remember worrying about them the next day. 

The thing I was worried about, however, was running into Bobby Watkins again somewhere and his continuing to take his vengeance out on me.

Fortunately, that was all there was to it, and I had no further run-ins with him—not until that September day when he inadvertently hit me in the head with a stick a few years later.

So, those are my two incidents with Bobby Watkins.

One thing I might mention about Bobby is that one of his arms was paralyzed. He couldn’t move it at all I don’t think. 

When we were in elementary school—second grade, I believe—he had been in an accident where his coat got caught in the door of a car that was pulling away. He had been dragged for several feet before anyone realized what was happening. 

I still remember our class sending him get-well wishes. Ever since the accident, he hadn’t had any use of his arm (I don’t remember which one it was).

You might be asking yourself what the point of these stories is. 

I suppose the takeaway is that no matter how hard I might try to put the past behind me, every time I touch that tender spot on my head, I’m reminded of Bobby Watkins. When I think of him, I reacknowledge the grudge I’ve held onto for so many years.

After all, is it right that I still feel discomfort for something he did to me over 40 years ago? 

Perhaps I’ve never fully forgiven him for either incident. The branch lashing was mean and vicious, while the stick to the head was an accident. 

However, I believe that I hold more of a grudge about the latter incident because I am periodically reminded of it.

As I mentioned earlier, Bobby passed away a few years ago, so maybe the incidents shouldn’t bother me any longer. 

However, they do. I’m still dealing with the repercussions of his stick throwing even though he is no longer around.

To sum everything up, I know I need to forgive him at last. I don’t believe I’ve ever really considered the need to do so before now. But I know that is what God would want me to do.

He’s forgiven me for many sins and trespasses, so the least I can do is forgive Bobby.

Oh Lord, help me forgive Bobby for what he did to me so many years ago. Allow me to let go of the anger and resentment that I have held onto for so long. Let my heart and mind be free of any animosity toward him so that I can be unshackled from the bondage of unforgiveness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

*Not his real name

Praying in Jesus’s Name

Can we really trust God to hear and answer our prayers?

In several places in the Bible we’re told to ask God for what we want (in Jesus’s name) and He will give us our requests. 

But is it really that simple? Can we think of God as some sort of cosmic vending machine just waiting for us to make a selection so He can dispense what we want?

No, of course that’s not accurate. If it were, then that is exactly how we would see God, as a supernatural genie waiting to fulfill our wishes.

Rather, God promises to give us what we long for, so long as He is our main focus:

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

We’re focusing on three chapters of the gospel of John—14, 15, and 16. In these passages we are told several times that God will give us what we ask for in Jesus’s name. 

However, as we’ll see, these promises are not without caveats that we must adhere to. And dare I say that most of us fail to fulfill our end of the bargain. I know that I often do.

Let’s first look at John 14:12-14. Here, Jesus is speaking to His disciples:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

In verse 13, Jesus promises to give us what we ask for in His name. However we have to look at the surrounding text on either side of that promise. Immediately after the promise are the words, “‘…that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’” 

And after this sentence, Jesus reiterates His promise: “‘If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’”

It is obvious that Jesus wants to get His point across about doing what we ask, but it is also apparent that His promise is conditional in that the reason behind our prayers is to bring glory to the Father.

Verse 12 gives us an even stronger description of the reason behind Jesus’s promise:

The works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do. 

Once again, it is to bring glory to God through our actions. 

I believe that is the whole crux of this passage—to do good works and pray for things that are in line with God’s will so as to bring glory to Him. As long as we are doing that, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Now let’s look at the next chapter, John 15, specifically the verses before and after verses 7. In this verse we’re told:

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

That’s a pretty big promise. But we have to look beyond the promise to the surrounding verses before we can understand the reason behind the promise.

Verses 5 and 6 talk about the importance of abiding in Jesus so that we can produce much fruit, because apart from Him we can do nothing. It is this abiding that is so important to fulfilling the destiny that God has planned for us. 

Verse 8 then tells us:

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Once again, if we read the passage correctly, we understand that Jesus’s promise is not intended to be spent on our own selfish desires, but rather it is intended to produce fruit, bring glory to God, and draw others to Him.

We must keep these ideas in mind when we go to God in prayer, not merely asking for solutions to our problems, but imploring God to show us how we can be used daily to advance His kingdom.

Next, we look at Chapter 16 of John. In verses 23 and 24, Jesus tells His disciples:

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

The “day” that Jesus refers to is His resurrection after spending three days in the grave. His disciples will be excited at His return from the dead. Furthermore, He tells them that they will be able to ask the Father in Jesus’s name and they will receive their petitions. 

Even though not explicitly spelled out in this section, based on similar promises in the preceding two chapters, we must assume that the prayers mentioned are not just any old prayers, but rather petitions of God that will advance the work of His kingdom and bring Him glory. 

Jesus wants us to be fruitful during our time on earth. Hence, the reason He mentions praying in His name on so many occasions.

Plus, He promises to send the Holy Spirit, who will guide His followers into all truth and help them produce fruit for the Kingdom.

These passages in the gospel of John are but a few examples of Jesus telling his followers to pray in His name and expect results.

The important idea we must keep in mind, however, is that our prayers are not meant to be spent on only petitioning for our desires. 

We must align ourselves with God’s will and pray God’s word in accordance with the Scriptures. Then we can expect to see Him working in our lives in a supernatural way for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

For Best Results, Pray Every Day

Do you pray? If you don’t, you are missing out on an opportunity to commune with the God of the universe. God wants us to talk to Him and draw closer to Him.

Just as a small child runs into the arms of their mother or father, so should we run into the arms of our Heavenly Father by praying to Him and talking to him.

Making it a habit to pray to God every day will strengthen your spiritual life and help you become all that God intends for you to be. Not to mention that you’ll feel better and improve the quality of your interpersonal relationships.

God even commands us to pray. Therefore, we can be sure it is the right thing to do. Jesus said:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 

Matt. 7:7-8

We need not worry if our prayers are doing any good. If we’re truly seeking God, we can trust in the effectiveness of our prayers:

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16b

The closer we draw to God, the more aligned with Him we’ll become in our heart. We’ll have the confidence that our wants are God’s wants:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Ps. 37-4

But what if you don’t see answers to your prayers? Never fear, because God is still in control:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:6-7

Our job is to pray and keep on praying, even when that inner voice tells us that it’s not doing any good. 

That’s when our faith muscle kicks in, and we can trust in God that He will work everything out for the best:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Rom. 8:28

Even when things look bleak, we can be confident that God will not let us down. His way is the right way, so we should continually pray for His will to be done.

Doing so will increase our faith even more and enrich our lives here on earth while we wait to go to our eternal home in Heaven.

So, you’re not sure if you’re going to Heaven or not? 

There’s only one sure way to know. Ask Jesus into your heart to be the Lord of your life. Then, you can be certain you’ll have eternal life. 

It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make.

After you accept Jesus, pray every day for wisdom and direction. God won’t let you down.

Turn Your Life Verse Into an Affirmation

What is your life verse? 

You know, the one that every time you read it or think about it, it just speaks truth to you. If nothing comes to mind, ask God to give you one—a verse that He wants you to hold on to, to make it our own, during the good times and the bad.

I’ve had various verses that have spoken to me personally over the years. For at least 25 years, Proverbs 3:5-6 has been at the top of the list:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Long ago, It felt like God laid this passage on my heart, prompting me to hold it close because I would need it someday.

And, oh, how I’ve needed those words. I’ve had to remind myself over and over to trust God completely and not to rely on my own understanding or beliefs about the situation at hand.

Here lately, God has prompted me to keep in mind a different verse—Romans 8:28: 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose

This verse reminds me every day that no matter what challenges I face, it’s all working out for the best in my life. It may not seem like it now, but God has a plan and everything is falling into place.

In fact, lately when I’ve felt stressed or overwhelmed, I just yell out (to myself), “Romans 8:28, baby!” That simple reminder is enough to reset my emotions, help me remember that God is in control, and keep me from spiraling into an abyss of doom, gloom, and depression. 

One technique I’ve used a few times is to take several key passages of scripture that truly speak to me and write them down in a personalized way on either an index card or small piece of paper that I can look at each day.

For example, using the two passages in Proverbs and Romans, I might write the following affirmation:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

Philippians 4:4 and 4:6-7 are other powerful passages about God’s goodness and peace that I have often meditated on when life’s challenges feel overwhelming. I could personalize them as well and add them to my daily affirmation.

So, when I’m finished, I have the following written out:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

I will rejoice in the Lord today. I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I’ll let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Prov. 3:5-6, Rom. 8:28, Phil. 4:4, 6-7

These are some of the verses that have greatly helped me over the years. Maybe they’re special to you as well. Or maybe you need to search the Bible and find your own verses that resonate with your unique circumstances.

Once you’ve personalized and written out your affirmation, take a moment first thing in the morning to read it, out loud if possible. 

Read it again while you’re eating lunch, and refer to it anytime during the day that you feel stress, anxiety, or depression creeping up on you. 

Bedtime is another fantastic time to read your affirmation and set your mind on God as you drift off to sleep.

Let God’s word soak into your spirit and drive out all the negative feelings and emotions that are trying to take root in your mind. Focus on God and His promises.

You’ll feel more joyful and hopeful if you do.

Eyes to the Future

Sitting in the back seat of the car on our day trip led to an incredible bonding experience with my grandson recently.

Although he is only 11 months old, when I focused on his eyes—deep gray blue marbles speckled with dancing light—he seemed much older. The eyes are the windows to the soul, as they say.

I gazed at him and wondered what kind of world he would end up inheriting from us—his parents and grandparents. 

In 2046, what will the world be like when he’s 27, my son’s age? If the world remains on its present trajectory and God doesn’t step in, I can only imagine the kinds of trials he might have to endure.

I was lost in his beautiful, soulful eyes, and he looked back into mine with a similar intensity. He had the same intense gaze, with an almost quizzical look, so uncharacteristic of a child that age. 

Maybe he was wondering why I was so focused on him. 

To me, he is nearly perfect in every way. He’s a beautiful child, as I’ve referred to him on more than one occasion. 

On this sunny day, his sparkling eyes captured glints from the summer sun and danced in an almost hypnotic way.

I searched his eyes for glimpses of his future. The deeper I gazed into them, the more I thought. What will he encounter in the coming years and decades of his life? 

Part of me shudders just thinking about it. If he follows Christ and lives as a Christian (which I pray he will), he may face intense persecution, the likes of which I’ve only imagined. 

He may have to fight for his rights to worship the way he wants—even right here in the United States, the land where freedom is supposed to ring and citizens are guaranteed the right to worship however they choose.

Each generation tends to think their generation had it the best (or the worst, depending on the context). I believe the 70s and 80s were the ideal time to grow up; however, I’m sure my millennial kids hold the same view of the 90s and 2000s.

What will my grandson say about growing up in the 20s and 30s? Will they be his ideal time or will he wish he had been born in another decade?

My hope is he will live his life to the fullest, no matter what he faces during his time on this earth. 

I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sorrow as we held each other’s gaze.

Is it irresponsible to raise a child in this day and age, given all the uncertainty in the world? Have previous generations asked themselves the same questions? 

I didn’t feel that way about rearing my own children. On the contrary, I felt it was the responsible thing to raise children and teach them right from wrong. 

At the time, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could feel that the world was too far gone to bring children into it.

How am I able to understand that viewpoint now? Have I changed, or has the world become a more dangerous and volatile place? Both perhaps.

Of course, the decision to bring this tiny creature into the world was not mine. However, there is little doubt I would still choose to have children all over again, even in these difficult times.

Certainly, I want the best for my grandson. I want those beautiful gray blue eyes to see only good in the world, ignoring the evil and the disturbing. 

Alas, I can’t shield him from all that. I’ll have to leave that in God’s hands for Him to manage.

As of now, his eyes have seen only good in the world. They have yet to witness many less savory things that he will no doubt come in contact with. 

I wish those mesmerizing pools of color could maintain their innocence throughout his life. My prayer is that all the negative he will inevitably encounter will somehow mold him for the better.

Follow This Biblical Pathway For Success

What if you believed you truly had the power of God on your side? Would you feel differently about your life than you currently do?

Maybe you already believe that you have God’s power working in your life and you live every day knowing that God is working through you.

I’ve personally struggled with this concept—that is, believing that God’s enormous power is really working on my behalf to help me succeed in whatever I may find myself doing.

In fact, in some of my lowest moments, I’ve found myself doubting God—doubting that He cares and doubting that He is doing anything in my life. 

Logically, I know that those thoughts come from our enemy, because

all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Why is it so difficult for us to remember and rely on this promise from our loving Heavenly Father?

We should walk through each day in victory, knowing without a doubt that God is doing good things in our lives because we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

It is hard to live this way, however, as we are continually bombarded with negativity.

After all, we live in a fallen world and we’re subject to all the tactics of the devil designed to derail our Christian walk.

It is far too easy to let the enemy keep us focused on all the mundane issues of our lives, rather than walking in strength by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to be a helper and a comforter to Christ followers. 

We are told,

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

So, what is the answer then? On a practical level, how do we tap into this power that is waiting for us?

My belief is that it all begins with prayer—simply acknowledging God as all-powerful and asking Him for His help every day. 

Then, we must simply believe.

Everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

God is waiting to help us. He wants us to be successful doing His work on earth. If we sincerely seek Him and His power, He will honor our request.

Since the devil is always on the lookout for any chance to cause chaos, confusion, and evil, I believe that we should also ask for wisdom. 

We need to be aware of any weaknesses or areas of our lives we leave open for the enemy to use to his advantage. Once again, we are promised,

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him

James 1:5

God wants our success, and He will give us wisdom to help us get His work done.

While prayer and faith are the key ingredients needed to tap into God’s power, asking for His help isn’t a one-time thing. 

We must seek Him daily, reaching out to Him to acknowledge our weaknesses and ask for His help. 

That is the path to accessing the power of God every day. Following it will ensure that we’re successful in whatever He has called us to do to advance His kingdom.

Wait For God’s Timing

Has God ever come through for you? 

Has there ever been a situation in your life when you needed Him to do something that only He could do—so you prayed and God did exactly what you asked him for?

If so, then you know from this past experience that He cares for you and hears your prayers.

It was a faith-building experience. Through it, you gained just a little more faith that God is good and does only good things. 

Now you have that much more faith to carry you through the rough times. If God came through for you once, then He’ll do it again.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that the next time God shows up, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. 

God has a particular way of doing things. It’s His way, and that may or may not line up with what you have pictured. 

You probably have an answer all laid out in your mind about your situation. You know how it should work out. Or, at least you think you do.

God may have a whole different idea about it, and you have to be flexible and patient. 

When it comes to waiting on God and His timing, patience is important. He usually doesn’t work in the same timeframe we do. 

We want an answer yesterday when we’re faced with a problem. God’s timing may not give you an answer for quite some time. 

And when He does answer, it may look totally different from what you expect.

But one thing is for certain—it will work out for the best. We’re assured of that in Romans 8:28.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

We just have to wait on God to do His thing. And we must remain prayerful during this time, because we don’t want to miss anything He may be telling us about His plan. 

If there’s something we need to do, He’ll let us know. That’s why we need to stay connected to Him in the meantime. We have to keep the lines of communication open so we can hear Him.

He wants to come through for us—never forget that. But we need to wait patiently in faith for Him and His timing.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11:6

Faith and patience are the keys. 

He WILL come through, because He said He would in the verse from Romans. 

Just don’t get ahead of God and try to work things out on your own. Doing this can often make a tough situation even worse.

Wait on God and you’ll eventually see what He has in store for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Trust God No Matter What

We all have times in our lives when our faith falters and we begin to doubt God.

We wonder if He’ll be true to His word and follow through with His promises to bless, help, and protect us. It’s natural to find ourselves doubting from time to time because, after all, we’re only human and far from perfect. 

What is the best way to get back on track to the point where we’re relying on God again? No doubt you’ve been in tough situations in your life before—whether it was with money, relationships, your career, your health, or something else. 

Did you pray to God and ask Him for help during these times? Most likely you did. What was the outcome?

Maybe He didn’t answer your prayers in just the way you thought He should; however, He brought you through those trying times in the way that was best for you in the long run (Rom. 8:28).

So, if you’re currently faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge in your life, the key is to think back on those other tough times and remember how God brought you through them. 

No matter how those other challenges turned out in the physical realm, God was with you every step of the way. He never left your side because He wants what’s best for you and is always working things out on your behalf. 

You are who you are today because of the challenges and circumstances you’ve had to endure in your life up to this point. 

The situation you’re in right now will be just one more example of how God uses our daily lives with all its challenges and trials to mold us into the people He wants us to be. 

But we have to trust Him. When things seem their darkest, recall all the good things He has given you in your life. Spend a few minutes just meditating on ways He has blessed you. 

It could be that He has given you a wonderful and loving family, an enjoyable job you look forward to each day, financial blessings such as an unexpected windfall, or just the ability to take joy in the midst of chronic physical pain each day.

God loves you and wants you to lean on Him. Do it. Trust Him with everything in your life—your time, money, energy, and resources. He WILL come through for you. 

However, don’t expect His help and blessings to look like you think they should, because they often won’t. He’ll work out your situation in His own time frame and in His own way. But you’ll come out on the other side better for it.

How’s Your Generosity?

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35

One of the best ways to lift your mood is to give. At first, this may sound counterintuitive. After all, if I’m down in the dumps, I’m the one who needs to be given to. My resources are low, it would seem, and I’m not able to give anything to anybody.

However, the opposite is actually true. When it seems like you have nothing, that’s when it’s most important to give. It could be anything—money, your time, or just a small gift of some sort.

And it could be to anyone—your spouse or significant other, your kids, a coworker, or even a stranger. I know that for me, random acts of kindness have a way of making me feel better. 

When we give, we take our focus off ourselves and put it on someone else. When we’re thinking about others and their needs, we’re not wasting time dwelling on any negative thoughts that might pop into our mind.

I don’t believe God deals much in formulas, but this is pretty much as close to a magic formula as you’ll find in the Bible.

Give of yourself to others and you won’t be as concerned about what’s going on in your own life. Others’ needs will take a place of importance instead.

Take a moment to think about the important people in your life and how you might give to them. Can you perform some small act of service for them? Maybe you could buy someone lunch. How about just paying them an honest compliment? 

Even if there’s not anything you can think of that they need from you, you can always pray for them. That’s a form of giving that doesn’t require anything other than time and a little thought. 

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38

This verse should serve as an encouragement to us when we think we have nothing to give. It doesn’t matter how small it is. You’ll feel better and you’ll be doing something positive at the same time.

God will honor your gift. It may not look the way you expect it to look, but His word says you’ll receive the same measure as what you give. 

So, go ahead…give something to someone and see what happens. Make it a daily habit to be a generous person.

Make the Bible’s Words Your Prayers

Sometimes when we’re so down we just don’t know what to pray or how to pray to God. It seems like our prayers are going nowhere.

These are times when you can refer to the word of God for your prayers. If we’re weak in strength (emotionally and/or physically), all we have to do is pray words that have already been spoken before.

What this means is that we can use the God’s words from the Bible as our own prayers. We can find words that His people spoke to Him long ago and make them our own.

Rather than strictly coming to God with a list of concerns and cares, we can use these words as a guide to focus our prayers. Using them can transform our words into strong petitions that accurately reflect who God is and who we are in relation to Him.

Jeremiah 33:3 says,

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Call out to God. Tell Him of your weakness. Tell Him you want to serve Him but you feel unequipped to do so. Trust Him to speak to you. It might not be right away, as sometimes we must wait on God to hear His voice clearly. But never stop trusting Him that He loves you and wants you to hear Him.

Praise God and thank Him that you can trust Him just as Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

You might pray something like, “Thank you, Father, that I can trust you with all my heart and that as I acknowledge you in every area of my life, you are making a straight path for me.”

It might be that trouble with your job or professional life has left you physically drained. Perhaps your finances are in disarray and you’re barely able to make ends meet.

In 1 Chronicles 4:10 we find this prayer from Jabez:

“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”

We learn in the next verse that God granted Jabez’s request. That’s not to say that God will give you whatever you ask for or that if He does, that it will be in the timeframe you want. God works in His own time and for His own divine purposes.

However, by speaking this prayer to God, you’re letting God know that you have needs (He already knows them anyway) and you’re inviting Him to be the One who works everything out. You’re recognizing that you can’t do it on your own.

Psalm 34:4-7 is a wonderful passage if you’re just feeling generally afraid and anxious:

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”

Here we find David’s testimony that God helped him in his time of need. Just as He did for David, God will deliver you from your fears. He will save you out of your troubles.

Once again, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. It may not be when you think it should be. But he is faithful. He’ll save you just like he did David.

Make these words your prayer. Personalize them. Thank God for His help. Praise Him for being faithful and for saving you as He did David.

Philippians 4:6-7 is another great passage for helping us through anxiety and worry. It tells us,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Pray to the Lord and thank Him that you have nothing to be anxious about. Praise Him for His peace in Jesus that is guarding your heart (emotions) and your mind (logical thought processes).

God loves us and is always there for us. Nothing we can ever do will change that.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Ps. 103:11).

Use the examples that He gave us in His word to personalize your prayers and make them powerful, God-trusting, God-praising prayers. Fortify them with God’s words and see if He doesn’t help you in your time of need.