by Shannon Caughey
When one of my sons was about five, my wife met me at the door when I arrived home from work one day. She told me that this son was having a particularly rough day of disobedience and misbehavior. I went to his room to talk with him about this. When I asked him why he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do, there was a moment of guilty silence. Then he said, “I just had trouble making myself be good today!”
We can identify with this 5-year-old’s honest assessment. Whether in coaching or other areas of our life, we can know the right thing to do. We can understand how Jesus wants us to speak, act, or think in a particular situation. Yet we can struggle to actually put this into practice. It feels like we can’t make ourselves be and do what we need to be and do.
Why do we have trouble with this? As in the case with my son, it’s often the result of internal resistance: our hearts have been impacted by sin. When we’ve developed a pattern of giving into certain temptations and habitually practicing certain sins, it is difficult to break this pattern and choose the way of Jesus instead – even when we really want to. We also encounter external resistance: factors outside of ourselves that make it more challenging to follow Christ. This includes peer pressure to do something different or even outright opposition to living for Jesus. This can certainly be the case in some coaching environments.
How can we overcome internal or external resistance so that we can coach and live according to Jesus’ good design for us? We need power. In this series of devotions, we’re considering prayer practices we see in the Bible that coaches who are serious about following Jesus put into practice as well. To access the power we need, prayer for power must be part of our prayer “practice plan.”
Praying for power was a theme for the Apostle Paul. In Ephesians 1:19-20, Paul writes, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” A couple chapters later Paul again describes how he is praying (Eph. 3:16): “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”
How do you similarly build praying for power into your prayer “practice plan”? First, recognize you need God’s power. Consistently coaching and living for Christ in the face of resistance – both internal and external – requires more than our own best efforts. It takes more than just trying harder. We need God’s power to enable us. When we place our faith in Christ, he resources us with his power: “he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit” (Eph. 3:16). However, we won’t access his power until we recognize in prayer, “Lord, I need your power.”
Second, actively trust God’s power. Paul uses phrases like “the incredible greatness of God’s power” and “the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.” God’s power is more than sufficient for us in every situation! Express trust in God’s power as you pray: “Lord, as I pray for your power in this situation, I trust you to enable me to do all you desire – no matter what resistance I encounter.” Then let this expression of trust in God’s power compel you to take action consistent with how you prayed, being confident in God’s empowering step by step.
The all-powerful God willingly gives you his power to be and do all that he desires for you to be and do. You will face resistance, but his power enables you to overcome this resistance and to live and coach for Jesus. Access his power through looking to him and trusting him. Make praying for God’s power part of your prayer “practice plan.”
For reflection: Take a few minutes to pray for God’s power in specific situations you’re encountering. Express your trust in him and your gratitude to him.