It began one morning when I disagreed with something my wife said. It was during one of those trying patches where you find yourself irritable and finding fault with everyone around. I was about to contribute a sharp retort when I caught myself mid-speech and decided to pray if I should go ahead with it. The answer was an emphatic “No!” It all happened so quickly in my mind, but it set off a chain reaction that ended up bringing new insight.

The second lesson took place soon after. I was closing our business’ monthly reports, which can be challenging, as they’re quite intricate and require patience and persistence. A new detail came up that caused a break in my mental flow. Despite the work being timely and important, I couldn’t get my head around this new factor.

My spirits sagged, and a few mouse clicks later, I was checking the news, then drifting into Facebook, and so on. Finally, much discouraged, I struggled to pull myself together and pray about what to do. As often happens, the solution came almost immediately. If I’d done that at the start, I could have saved myself a lot of time, not to mention stress.

God’s Word encourages you to “give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.” 1 But how can we give God our burdens if He’s a block away? Or even several yards away? We can only give Him our burdens if He’s right next to us, or rather in us. The closer we are, the easier it is to trust Him with our cares and burdens and to communicate with Him. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” 2

This reminds me of when I lived in Hong Kong and I used to take a ferry to the Central District. As it slowed down and neared its mooring position, it would bob about almost frantically until it was tied up and secured to the harbor wall. And therein lies the third lesson: Laboring to enter into rest through prayer, as God’s Word encourages us to do, 3 takes effort. But it’s the way for us to be tied securely to the one who has all the answers and can help us succeed, even despite ourselves.

  1. Psalm 55:22 NLT
  2. Psalm 46:1 NLT
  3. See Hebrews 4:11.