As so many kids have now gone back to school via virtual learning, I imagine this “give me strength” prayer has burst forth from many a parental lip. Unless someone is an experienced homeschooler or knows the ins-and-outs of distance learning, this prayer is most certainly an accompaniment to the day. Things like Zoom meetings. Google Classroom. Scanning homework. Managing “seat work” while keeping a wiggling, early-elementary student from distracting their middle school sibling across the room. All virtual-classroom skills that are driving some parents into new levels of prayer. No doubt about it. It’s what we say when we feel overwhelmed and under-resourced. Give me strength!
But, what are we really asking for? Emotional strength so we can endure the pressure or don’t have a meltdown? Moral strength so we don’t just dive into sinful avoidance? Intellectual strength to find smart workarounds and solutions? Spiritual strength to stay connected to the Source of our peace and comfort when we feel helpless and hopeless? Physical strength when we are weary and too tired to drag ourselves out of bed for one more round of the “hard?”
Whatever our perceived need, when we cry out, “LORD, give me strength,” He promises to give us that strength in the specific way we need. Psalm 138:3 reminds us, “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased” (ESV). The Hebrew puts it: you made me bold in my soul with strength.
Bold in my soul. A soul emboldened with strength. What a great phrase! But what exactly does that look like? Well, it looks like Deborah stepping out of her comfort zone to join Barak on the battle-field against 900 iron chariots (Judges 4). It looks like Daniel volunteering to interpret a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar when the outcome for getting it wrong was sure and certain death (Daniel 2). It looks like Jesus going to the cross—knowing the agony to come—when God did not answer His prayers (3 times!) in the Garden of Gethsemane to allow the cup of suffering to pass (Matthew 26:36-46).
And it looks like you stepping into virtual schooling for the first time. Or sitting beside a loved one who is passing from a long and lingering cancer. Or doing the day-in and day-out chores around the home when you’d rather throw in the towel on one more dirty dish.
Strength is the prayer-answer for a heart that turns towards God with a cry of HELP!
ACTION: Where have you found yourself crying out for strength lately? What are you really asking for? How might God be inviting you to notice and explore those places where you feel weak and “unbold” or timid? What would you like to ask Him for today?