Daily Devotional for Sunday August 22, 2010

Do You Pray Before or After

(1 Chronicles 16:11)

Do you pray before or after? You may be puzzled by this question, but it is not only very applicable, the answer could actually change your life. How many times do you find yourself praying about a situation you are facing, asking for God's help, and realize that is the FIRST time you have prayed about that situation. Here is the point I am trying to make.

Many times we go into situations in our life without praying. We just do it. We make the decision without ever consulting the Lord or even taking a few minutes to analyze whether this is something we should do. Usually, we don't pray because we already know what God would tell us. It is like a child who knows it is too late to go out to play, so rather than ask his parents who will, of course, say no, they just go out on their own.

Of course, they end up in trouble and then have to deal with the consequences of that trouble. We do that more often than we want to admit. No prayer, no getting God's counsel, just do it. Then when the trouble comes, we get on our knees and ask God to help us get out of the trouble we put ourselves into.

I am not saying that we need to stop before every single decision we make and pray. Most things we decide on a daily basis are pretty obvious in terms of whether it is something we should do or not. But there are several times a day when we make major decisions, and I am saying that taking a few minutes to talk to God first can't hurt.

You will be surprised how many problems you start avoiding. Of course, when you pray, you MUST pray with an open heart that is open to listening to the Lord and obeying the direction the Holy Spirit gives you. Also, when it comes to really major decisions that can alter your life, such as where you go to school, work, live, your mate for life...those types of decisions, you should not only pray about them for a while, but get some outside counsel as well. We often are so tunnel-visioned in our own life, we can't see things people outside our life can see.

I want to encourage and challenge you today to start praying BEFORE you make decisions and save yourself much pain and heartache. God is waiting and willing to give you direction if you simply ask Him. We have got to stop using prayer as a safety net when we are in trouble, like a 911 call.

I will pray for you. You will be surprised how much "crisis praying" you have to do when you simply start praying BEFORE you make decisions. God loves you and only wants the best for your life. If you ask Him, He will guide you and show you the best way to go.

Again, it is incumbent upon you to be open to His direction and not be so focused on what you want to do. It really boils down again to being surrendered to the Lord's direction for your life. As I often try to do, I will remind you again that when you accepted Christ as your Savior and you gave Him your life, it doesn't belong to you any longer, it is His.

Praying before you make decisions is a way of recommitting yourself to Him, by allowing His will to be done in your life. Make prayer before a decision part of your everyday life, and you will see very quickly how much easier life will become.

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller