Tag Archives: pray and walk away

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 5

Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that hope comes through self-effort. That it’s up to me to keep hope alive. That I’m the one holding onto my hope. But God’s Word reminds me that hope actually holds onto me. Hebrews 6:19 puts it this way: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Last time I checked, it’s the anchor that does the holding. Not the boat.

That’s good news. Especially when we’re exhausted by overwork, disappointment, or grief. Life hurts. And we all become battle weary at times. Humans are not machines—we have our limits. “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40:31).

That said, let’s remember that hope is not passive. We don’t get to simply numb out, give up, walk away from God and expect Him to come running after us to revive our hope.

No…I need to trust God, even when I no longer trust myself. Rest in Him and wait upon Him.  Hope in Him, especially when I don’t have the strength to fight any more. “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired (Isaiah 40:31 AMP).

Just what does it look like to wait for the Lord? It could mean that I simply rest for a while. Or take baby steps out of my exhaustion to listen to praise music; or soak in the promises in God’s Word; or go for a walk and breathe in His beauty.  Perhaps I share His love with one who’s broken.

I might even turn aside from my dream for a little while, but only after placing it squarely into God’s hands for safekeeping. I call this my time to “pray and walk away.” Just for a season. What’s more, God promises He’ll give me new strength to mount up on wings like an eagle.

But until strength comes, I can rest secure knowing that if my dream is truly from God, He won’t let it go. And He won’t let me go. He won’t let my hope die—for He gave it to me as the anchor for my soul.

Day Eight: Pray and Walk Away

When our children were small, I taught them a practical lesson in prayer using what I called the “Secret Mailbox Club.” I made a mailbox out of construction paper and encouraged the children to write out their secret prayers on a piece of paper.  We sealed them in an envelope,  put the prayer requests in the mailbox and raised the flag.

“Now let’s go about our day, trusting God to answer our prayers in His time.”  The children would be surprised to discover later that some of their prayers had been answered while they weren’t looking.  I explained that our little mailbox game was similar to mailing a real letter. “When I put a letter in our mailbox, I’ve done my part, right?” “I have to trust the United States Postal Service to deliver my mail to the right place.  So I raise the flag and walk away.” I added, “Wouldn’t it be silly for me to camp beside the mailbox anxiously waiting for the response to my letter?”

When we pray to God, we’ve done our part by giving Him our request. The Bible says it this way: Commit your way to the Lord; trust Him and He will do this (Psalm 37:5). “Genuine faith hands its circumstances over to God, allowing him to work. He will never work until we commit” (from Streams in the Desert).  There are times when genuine faith means we pray and walk away.

This is Day Eight of our 21 Day Watch. We’ve been watching daily for signs of God at work. It seems odd to say “don’t watch” when we’re so focused on watching.  But I have learned that sometimes, when I am gripped by a really big problem, the best way I can show God I trust Him is to pray and walk away from the problem.

I’m talking about those painful and stubborn problems which, short of a miracle, are not going away soon. I battled with infertility for many years before God answered our prayers for children. Perhaps you’re wrestling with a debilitating disease, a rocky marriage, an unpleasant job situation, financial hardship, or a wayward child.

Perhaps we have confidence that God is working in these troublesome situations.  But if we watch too closely, we can get discouraged by the sheer magnitude of the problem and the seeming slowness of the answer.  That’s when it helps to put that prayer in the “Secret Mailbox” and walk away.

I discovered there are lots of ways to find joy while our prayers are in the “Secret Mailbox” awaiting God’s perfect timing:

  • Use this “waiting time” to learn something new or start a new hobby
  • Grow in your knowledge of God’s Word; be part of a Life Group
  • Experience a missions trip
  • Further your education
  • Work on you eating or exercise habits
  • Clean out the clutter in your home and give things away
  • Explore your life’s calling
  • Take time for fun and laughter
  • Serve those who are hurting worse than you are.

Over the years, I’ve found that some of the largest prayers I’ve entrusted into God’s hands, my “big asks,” have been answered in the most surprising ways while I am not watching!

Now I know who I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve entrusted to him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12).