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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Problem-Solving Prayer

"And in the same way - by our faith - the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying." - Romans 8:26 TLB

Even though my sons are grown up and married now, and it's just my husband, Joe, and me in our home, I still do a lot of laundry. I confess that I like clean clothes. Joe likes to tell his coworkers and friends that his only dirty clothes are the ones he's wearing at the time. So when I put a load of clothes in our washing machine the other day, and I couldn't get it to turn on, I panicked. After trying everything I knew to get it working again, I paused and prayed. "Lord, thank You for this washing machine, and for how it has served us so well all these years. Please forgive me for criticizing it and complaining about it, and for wanting so desperately to replace it. Show me how to get it working well again. In Jesus' name, I pray. Thank You, Lord, that I ask and receive in Jesus' name so that my joy is abundant!" After I prayed, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to unplug the washing machine from the circuit protector it was plugged into. After I did, my machine worked perfectly! Then I was quick to give God the glory and the praise. I also asked Him to keep my appliance working flawlessly until after we replaced it with something even better, at an extraordinary and affordable price for us!

I confess that the moment my washing machine refused to work, I felt convicted. Since we bought it fifteen years ago, I had complained about it countless times. I knew that if I wanted the Lord to hear my prayers concerning it, the first thing I needed to do was repent for criticizing it, instead of appreciating it. Years ago, I didn't know that complaining was a sin. But when I began studying the Scriptures, I discovered that it deeply offends God. Galatians 5:20 (TLB) lists "complaints and criticisms" as deeds of the sinful nature (flesh). One translation describes this mindset as having "all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants." (MSG) Attitudes like these no longer fit who we are in Christ, for the Bible says that we should always be "overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:7 NIV) An attitude of gratitude protects us and all that belongs to us, because it neutralizes the devil's attempts to "steal, kill, and destroy." (John 10:10)

When I prayed that the Lord would show me how to get my washing machine working again, I was asking Him for His wisdom based on His Word in James 1:5 (NIV). "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." I have learned that while it may be okay for us to turn to others for guidance, God wants to be the first one we consult. He alone is an infinite source of wisdom, and He can see what no man or woman can see. He may direct us to someone else for help, and if He does that, He will anoint that person to help us to receive the best outcome in our situation. Scripture makes it clear that we must ask for wisdom with an attitude of faith. "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord." (James 1:6-7 NIV) If you are assailed by doubt on a regular basis, then I encourage you to go to the Lord and ask Him how you can cooperate with Him for the building of your faith. He may show you that you need to spend more time alone with Him. That you have been neglecting His Word. Or that your prayer life needs more attention. Whatever it is, if you do what He tells you, you will enter into a more intimate relationship with Him, and you will hear His voice more clearly.

After confessing my sin and asking for divine wisdom, I claimed God's promise of answered prayer. Jesus said, "Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy." (John 16:24 NLT) I believe that God wants to answer my prayers. I believe that it not only gives me "abundant joy" when my prayers are answered, but that it gives the Lord great joy and satisfaction, too. So I do my best to cooperate with Him to that end by walking in close fellowship with Him on a moment-by-moment basis, by spending time in His presence and His Word each day, and by making Him my true source of protection and provision.

The Lord doesn't want you trying to solve your problems on your own. He wants you to turn to Him first, and to ask Him for the desires of your heart. Trust Him. Call upon Him. Claim His promises. And watch Him go to work on your behalf!

Prayer: Lord, when I am faced with a problem of any kind, help me to turn to You first. If there is any sin that I need to confess in the matter, help me to do that promptly and wholeheartedly. Remind me to ask for Your wisdom and Your guidance. And show me which of Your promises to claim. Thank You for being my divine Problem Solver!

- J. M. Farro


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