Fervent: Prayer Strategy for Your Pressures
Have you put together your prayer strategy for your purity? I hope so! This week we are moving on to Prayer Strategy number eight, your pressures! If you're just joining us, come on in! We're working through the book, Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. If you want to purchase the book you can do so through this affiliate link by clicking here. (This post contains an affiliate link, which provides me with a small compensation when you purchase your book through my link. Thank you so much for supporting my small business!)
So what is pressure? According to the dictionary, pressure is the burden of physical or mental distress. It can also be the constraint of circumstance: the weight of social or economic imposition.
I feel like we are approaching this prayer strategy at just the right time of year! I know the holiday season can bring a lot of added pressure to our lives if we let it. We say yes to too many things. We try to please everyone. We try to do and be everything to everyone. We want everything to be perfect for family. Can you relate to that? If it's not the holiday season, where do you find yourself feeling the constant pressure to please? Is it as a parent? An employee? A wife? A friend? Why is creating a prayer strategy for our pressures so important?
I love this chapter of the book. It speaks directly to my heart as someone who has spent way to long wrapped up in the pressure to please everyone. The pressure to be perfect, and have it all together. The pressure to do it all and do it all well. It is sooooo overwhelming and exhausting. Just thinking back to how I operated the last several years at my corporate marketing job makes me feel exhausted. And you know what I've learned about pressure over the last year? When I'm looking for affirmation and acceptance from others, giving into the pressures of perfect, I will NEVER be fulfilled. No matter how hard I try. And believe me, I try HARD! I'm a go-getter. I want to be the best, work the hardest, outperform and over-deliver. But when I've given in to pressure and aimed solely to please others, I've felt overwhelmed, incapable, and exhausted. Ironic isn't it? Aiming to please others, and caving into the pressure to be perfect only leaves me depleted. And that my dear friend, is no way to live. When I left that corporate marketing job last December, I realized just how much my life revolved around the pressure to please other people. It was unhealthy to say the least. I'm not saying we shouldn't work really hard and strive to do our best, but we need to pay close attention to our heart, and the motive behind our actions. Are we wanting to do our best out of self-glorification or because we want to glorify God? I was giving 110% out of selfish reasons....my reputation, my income, my position, my authority....and that reality stings a little bit. But you know what? That is what Satan wants. He wants to shift our focus, our worth, our attention, and our commitment to anything other than God. And that's why praying for our pressures is so important!
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Priscilla points out in the book that it's because of intimidation; because of fear. And we already know that fear doesn't come from God! Remember our prayer strategy on fear? We have this fear of what people will think of us. We fear that we won't be good enough. We fear that we won't be able to keep up. We fear that someone else will get ahead of us. Priscilla said, "Satan's ploy is to make you believe your core value as a person is tied to how much work you do, how much activity you can accomplish, how much stuff you can accumulate, how much business you can generate." Let that sink in for a minute. I don't know about y'all, but I can say with certainty that I've allowed Satan to get a little too close when it comes to allowing pressures to rule my actions, thoughts, and emotions. Priscilla makes such a good point on page 142. She said, " One additional thing, but a very important thing; pressure is often a mask for idolatry." This was such an eye opener for me! When I've felt an immense amount of pressure to out perform and over deliver for someone or something, I can look back and see that I was putting my heart and my devotion in....other people/my position/my income/my authority, and not in God. When I left that job in December of last year, I made a list of the things I learned during my time there, and one of the biggest things that I felt like God kept laying on my heart, was that I was consumed with pleasing others and glorify myself. My heart wasn't on serving God and working for Him, but in serving myself. Priscilla said, "When our lives are packed to the brim with things that squeeze God to the periphery, it's a sure sign we've replaced our devotion to God with a love for something else. The pressure to perform, for example, often means you've made an idol of your reputation. The pressure to maintain a ridiculously jam-packed schedule: the idol of self-reliance. The pressure to maintain an impressive standard of living: the idol of achievement. The pressure to take on everything in which your kids show even the slightest interest: making an idol of your children. Our hearts can make idols of anything....yet sometimes be the last to realize it's happening." This year I've been so grateful to have time to rest and reflect and my biggest prayer has been that whatever I do, wherever God leads me, that I would always put Him first without fail. The pressure I allow others to put on me and the pressure I put on myself to be perfect, to have it all together, to be the best.....it just isn't worth it. Not when the cost is hindering my relationship with God. Let's let go of the pressure to keep up, make more, do more, be perfect, please everyone, etc., and let's REST in God's grace and immense love for us and focus on serving Him above all else.
Are you ready to pray fervently and create a prayer strategy for your pressures? To get started, here are some scriptures you might consider adding to your prayer strategy for your pressures. If you're following along in the book you can find these scriptures, plus more, on pages 146-149.
- I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken. -Pslam 62:1-2, HCSB
- You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. -John 8:32
- Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. -Matthew 6:33, HCSB
- Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4
- You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. - Deuteronomy 5:15
- He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of man. The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love. -Psalm 147:10-11, HCSB
Go ahead and grab your Heartfelt Prayers Journal and craft your prayer strategy for your PRESSURES. Remember, if you don't have a journal, you can download this Prayer Journal that I created specifically for this study and use it throughout the series!
As I mentioned before, I'll be sharing my prayers with you to serve as inspiration as you work to craft your very own! Here is the prayer strategy I wrote in my war binder, for my pressures.
I'm praying for you as you work to craft a prayer for your pressures. See you next week as we dive into prayer strategy number nine on hurts.
Rooted in the love of Jesus,
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