For my birthday, earlier this month, my son gave me a thoughtful gift. I notice him watching me as I dart through my daily routine and responsibilities. Sometimes I wonder what his thirteen year old mind is thinking as I juggle home, work, and ministry commitments. His gift told me a lot.
It is a bright pink mug with a timely message — “Keep Calm and Pray On” (pictured here). It is likely you’ve seen this popular line of products. Short quips offer encouragement or instructions like “Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate,” “Keep Calm and Buy Shoes,” and perhaps the most popular phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” These sayings are found on t-shirts, posters, and almost anywhere you can ink a clever message.
What would your customized mug say, “Keep Calm and ______ ____?” Ryan said he also wanted the cup to be a “think of something pleasant while I drink coffee” mug. I like that sentiment too. But he and I both know the mug’s message is spot on.
As a person (and a parent) keeping calm can be a challenge for me. It’s difficult to “carry on” as usual after hearing unexpected or sad news, seeing my plans unravel or being thrust into an unwanted spotlight. However, Ryan’s gift got me thinking.
Prayer is the vehicle by which the believer becomes grounded in the presence of God. Whether I’m in a hurry or hysteria, the invitation from this cup is a needful and welcome sight. I thought about the many times Ryan has heard me say “Lord Jesus help me.” He knew I needed this mug.
I think of it as a cheer from my son for me to pray and not panic. The cup’s message suggests prayer as a soother to the soul. We may be unnerved by an event, but it doesn’t have to lead to our undoing. We can opt for many reactions when the unanticipated appears in our lives or the unwanted finds a way to our door. Obviously, the gravity of some situations calls for alarm. But staying or becoming calm through prayer is empowering.
As I look at the prayers found in Scripture, I’m amazed by the boldness of some requests. How much faith does it take to ask God to spare a city1, hold the sun still2, or raise the dead3? These are not your typical supplications. But there is nothing typical about our God.
Matthew 17:14-20 says exercising a mustard seed size faith can result in miracles. If you’re facing a distressing situation, here’s some good news: God wouldn’t invite us to the throne of grace without a plan to dispense exactly what we need4. As you and I grow more confident in Him, we can experience calm greater than any chaos.
If we’re willing to “pray on” through our concerns we’ll receive something far more refreshing than my morning cup of coffee – the merciful will of God. May we trust His love and welcome His wisdom. They both bring an overwhelming amount of hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
“If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.” – Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
- Genesis 18:20-33
- Joshua 10:12-14
- Luke 8:40-55
- Hebrews 4:14-16