The Importance of Prayer

Get the facts. Analyze the facts. Make a decision. Act on that decision. Socrates

While old Socrates had a great framework for handling problems, his formula was missing something - God and prayer. One of the most valuable pieces of advice that I have come across is from Larry Burkett, and it was essentially this: If you have an important decision to make and are not sure exactly how to proceed, then pray for wisdom and go in the direction that gives you the most peace.

I have taken this advice on many occasions - and always with good results. The reason is that the decision making process calls for a conclusion - often among competing solutions that seem equally reasonable. So, what do you do? You pray for God's direction and then choose the one that gives you the most peace of mind when compared to the others. A practical example might help to illustrate this principle.

Say you get a call from the police informing you that your child has been arrested for drunk driving. Your first impulse is to kill the child, but calmer heads prevail and that option is reluctantly discarded. But what do you do? Do you punish him with an iron fist? Do you hug him and say all is well because everyone makes mistakes? More than likely it will need to be a combination of the two extremes, but which combination and how do you come up with it? This is where Larry and the old Greek guy blend so well.

1. Get the facts: Your child was arrested for drunken driving.

2. Analyze the facts: Something has to be done and punishment is in order, but your child needs to be shown that you still    love him.

3. Make a prayerful decision: This is a pivotal moment in your child's life and you must make the best decision you can. So you pray for guidance and then choose the solution you feel most at peace with. In this case, you might see the need to mix justice with mercy.

4. Act on your decision: You have tried to make the best decision that you can in God's eyes, so it will be a good one. In this case, you let your child know that you love him more than ever, but that serious transgressions require serious attention and serious penalties. So you mix justice with love and mercy and then you go on with life.

The fact is that there will be difficult decisions in life that we may never know the exact solutions to. However, if we will seek God's help and direction in every important decision, we will not only come out better than we could hope for otherwise, we will also have the peace of mind that God will help us every step of the way.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. James 5:13, NIV