No Timeouts, No Victory
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When I worked with our championship high school football team, I was there for a lot of timeouts called by the coach. And I know how important they were. He told the players what they were doing wrong, what they needed to do more of, and how to play against the other team and their weaknesses. It was a strategy for winning, actually. When you watch sports on TV, they usually run commercials during the timeout. A timeout may not be very exciting to watch, but what happens during a timeout can determine the outcome of the game.
We're busy playing the game. We lose our perspective because we can only see things from the position we're playing. But the Coach, of course, can see it all. It's worth it to stop the game for a little while to get the perspective of the one who's got the big picture. If you're a child of God, that timeout is called prayer. And we can't win without it, but we sure try.
There is probably no more dramatic Biblical example of prayer as a non-negotiable than the story in Daniel 6, beginning with verse 10. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Daniel has so won the confidence of the Persian king, Darius - the most powerful man in the world at that time - that he is placed in a top position in the Persian government. And the word is out that he is about to be promoted as basically second-in-command to the king. He has some jealous associates, who try everything to slander Daniel and find some way to discredit him with the king, but he has so much integrity, they can't find one thing to accuse him of. But knowing Daniel is a man of prayer, they set him up by convincing the king to issue a decree that anyone who prays to anyone but him would be executed.
Daniel's response is utterly amazing. "When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. These men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help." Even when Daniel knows it may cost him his life, he will not miss his timeout with his God. He will let nothing preempt his praying. Wow! We are pretty pitiful by comparison! We let almost anything preempt our praying; we're too busy, we're too tired, we're too wounded, or we're too distracted.
When we don't pray our way through our day, we start to make more and more mistakes, we start fighting battles that aren't ours to fight, we start stressing out, and we start taking detours from the great plan of God. Prayer can't just be a compartment in your life where you pray in prayer meetings, pray at the beginning and the end of your day. Can you imagine a sports team only having a timeout with their coach at the beginning and the end of the game? You need what only He can give you throughout your day.
So pray before you take that call. Pray before you make that call. Pray before you write that e-mail. Pray before you start your journey. Pray before you answer, before you make that commitment, before you make that purchase, or before you ask someone for a date or accept that date. Pray through your day before you face your day.
And then all through your day whisper a prayer to heaven for what's in front of you at that moment. It may only be, "Lord, give me Your wisdom" or "Lord, give me Your strength" or just "Help, Lord!" But it opens up all of heaven and all that heaven has for the moment you're facing. Get used to getting in touch with heaven all day long. Checking in regularly with your Coach will make all the difference in the final score.
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.