Pray and Release
by Taylor Hoisington
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Psalm 3:4-5, "I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me."
Apparently God is wanting to get my attention when it comes to prayer. It seems like prayer is the one thing I keep hearing about wherever I go. I turn on a Joyce Meyer program, and I hear about prayer. I try a new church, and the sermon is on prayer. Today, I started reading a book, and the title is "The Essentials of Effective Prayer".
As I read this book today, a verse really caught my attention. This verse is one I've read hundreds of times before, but today I noticed something about it I had never noticed before.
In Psalm 3, David started out his prayer by crying out to God because of the many enemies he had. Verses 1-2 say, "O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, 'God will never rescue him!'" When we hit verse 3, there is a transition in David's focus. It shifts from one of seeing his enemies to one of seeing his God. Verse 3 says this: "But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high."
As I read through these verses, I noticed how when David prayed, by the end of his prayer he finally had peace, and he did something that proved he was really trusting God.
The beginning of verse 5 is what caught my attention: "I lay down and slept..."
David went to God crying out because of his enemies. His focus shifted from his problem to his God, and then after crying out to God, he lay down and slept.
Why would him sleeping be such a big deal?
I don't know about you, but I tend to take a problem to God and then tell God what I think He should do about it. I have a very bad habit that needs to be broken. This is the habit of trying to figure everything out. Unlike David, I don't go to God in prayer and then rest in knowing He has heard me and will take care of it. Rather, I stay awake worrying about how God is going to handle what I've just prayed about. I try to have a discussion with God about how He is going to fix it rather than praying and releasing.
Pray and release. This is what David did in this situation.
He didn't pray and then sleep with one eye open just in case God didn't take care of him. No! He lay down and slept. As we finish reading verse 5, it says, "...yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me."
We have such a privilege when it comes to prayer. Prayer allows us to give our worries to God in exchange for His peace. It allows us the freedom to not have to figure everything out. Truth is, even if we try to figure things out, odds are we will just be wasting our time because some things are not for us to know right now. We can either pray and release, or we can hold onto our problems and be miserable.
My desire is that I will begin a new habit... the habit of praying and releasing. I'll do what God shows me to do, and I'll leave the things alone that are not for me to know right now.
It's time for me to allow my emotions to rest. It's time for me to allow them to lay down and sleep. I trust that God will allow me to wake up in safety.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You've been dealing me on the subject of prayer. Today, what You taught me was the importance of praying and releasing. I need to take my worries and concerns and lay them at Your feet in exchange for peace and the ability to enjoy my life while You take care of my problems. If there is something You want me to do, show me. If not, I'm going to lay down and sleep knowing You will watch over me. Thank You for prayer! In Jesus' Name.
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