There isn’t a Christian that I have ever known, including myself, that hasn’t prayed to receive the strength to either endure or overcome some form of adversity.
While prayer is the normal response to the onset of problems, praying to receive inner strength when facing the challenges of life is an indication of one being unprepared for the inevitable adversities that life brings.
One of the primary reasons that God brings us to the end of our ropes is to demonstrate or remind us of the futility of trying to solve spiritual issues with temporal devices. John 15: 5 make it clear that, in the spiritual realm, we can do nothing without Him and the enabling power that He provides.
Some would say, “OK, I’m fine with that, but why would praying for His strength be a sign of being unprepared?”
Consider this scenario. Your children come to you and ask if you really love them or if you are really going to provide for them. Would not the very asking of these questions make you wonder why a child would feel the need to ask such things? Would you not detect that there is something amiss in such a parent-child relationship?
Our Father in Heaven has already promised to always “be there” for us and to provide everything that we need in order to fulfill the plan that He has designed for our lives. Inner strength is certainly included in the “everything we need” list. There is NO NEED to pray to receive something that God has already provided for us, just the need to express our thanks.
Is the perceived lack of strength a failure on God’s part to provide, or is it a failure on our part to develop and apply what He has already provided for us?
Enduring or being delivered from adversity requires two basic elements, knowledge and the courage to apply it. Knowledge comes from the Word of God. Courage is the ability to maintain the presence of mind while under pressure in order to recall and apply the knowledge.
Humans do NOT usually have the presence of mind to learn very much while in the midst of intense adversity. We must be trained beforehand.
Matt. 7:24-27 teaches that the onset of adversity is not the time to pray for inner strength, but rather the time to make use of the inner strength that we should have already developed in preparation for the inevitable storms of life.
Note that in both cases, the builders heard the words. The one who heard the words and APPLIED them had the strength to endure the adversity, but the one who heard but did not APPLY them suffered great loss.
God the Holy Spirit indwells ALL believers (1Cor. 6: 19), and are the recipients of the grace of God, but not all believers develop the inner strength needed to endure or be delivered from adversity. Inner strength is not developed by isolated prayers of distress, but by the daily intake, retention, and application of “the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NIV).”
It is for this reason that some believers endure, are delivered, and eventually prosper as a result of life’s challenges, while others are just as devastated as our unbelieving counterparts.
Those who wait for the day of trouble to seek the inner strength possessed by others are like the maidens of (Matt. 25: 8, 9) who wanted some of the oil that the others were wise enough to secure beforehand.
It’s not that others won’t want to share. Inner strength is not transferable. Our inner strength may inspire others to pursue it, but it must be developed on their own.
It is usually when other believers cannot supply what others in need desire of them that they turn to God and pray for the strength that they should have already received, retained, and developed. God’s silence in response to such prayer may very well be to teach this principle to all those involved.
The only prayer that a mature believer should need to pray at the onset or during the course of adversity is for the wisdom and the ability, under the filling of God the Holy Spirit, to recall and apply the source of the inner strength that he/she already has.
This inner strength is what will bring the “peace of God that transcends all understanding (Phill.4: 7 NIV)” to the believer and glory to God.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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