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A Prayer When You are Tired, Weary, and Ready to Give Up

By Kelly Balarie

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

I forged ahead, making my way down the sidewalk, not giving much attention to how I was walking. Sure, I knew my friend wasn’t doing a very good job at keeping up. And, yes, I knew that you shouldn’t look back when talking, but still, I kept doing it. My friend was lollygagging. Meanwhile, I was chattering, walking forward while looking back – and before I knew it – I almost walked right into a phone pole.  This story has probably nearly happened a handful of times, but the point remains the same…

We cannot effectively walk forward while looking back. We cannot proceed ahead, when peering back to the past. We cannot easily win the prize for which God called us after getting slammed by a pole of defeat. Do not look back.  

Paul said, in this verse, that there is one thing that he does. Simply, one thing. That is: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

The irony here is that this one thing reads as if it is two things:

1. Forgetting what is behind, and

2. Straining toward what is ahead.

Yet, these things two things are, in many ways, one in the same. You cannot forget something without filling that mind space with a new thought.  Therefore, this is one pursuit.

What does this process of “forget-and-strain” look like?

It looks like:

  • I forget my mistakes and strain forward into God’s grace that helps me do a new thing in this season.
  • I forget how that person offended me (by forgiving them) and I strain toward my highest calling: to love.
  • I forget all the trauma and strain toward sharing the lessons I learned in order to minister to others in traumatic situations.

Try this exercise in any situation you may find yourself in.

Say: “I choose, today, to forget _____ and I decide to strain toward _____.”

This decision to not look back prevents tiredness, weariness or defeat from nipping at your heels. It prevents you from looking back, when trying to walk forward. It sets you up to not only to walk forward but to look up to Christ Jesus, God’s promises, and the Holy Spirit’s counsel. This is more powerful than you likely know. There is a goal to “win the prize,” for which God has called you. There is His will to fulfill. There is a purpose to why you were created. No one ever can walk ahead while looking back.

People who get tired and give up are usually so focused on what’s going wrong or what isn’t going right that they can’t see the God who was, is, and is to come. They miss The Great I Am. Instead, they get self-centered, self-focused, and stuck in pits of self-pity. They see walls. They see tight confines. They see lack and restrictions. Of course, I don’t judge pit-dwellers because I’ve been in some massive pits, too. I just lament the wasted time that happens when we get in these pits, especially when God calls us higher. Namely, to be seated with Him in the heavenlies.

Either way, I apply “forget and strain.” I forget time wasted and strain toward fixing my mind on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and of good report. And, as I do – I find that the pit has an open door, easily leading me up and out.

Let’s pray:

Father, I am stuck. I am stuck feeling sorry for myself. I am stuck feeling angry. I am tired. I am weary. I am worn. I admit parts of me want to give up. As Redeemer, will you redeem me and restore me? I need your help. Will you strengthen me on the inside? I need your faith. Will you lead me in all the ways I should go? I want you as my Shepherd. You are my only hope. I look to you to rescue me this day. Give me strength to forgive, to forget, and to strain ahead towards all you have called me to. I want to do all that you have created me for in this world and to enjoy the prize as I move heavenward in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/lzf


headshot of Kelly BalarieKelly uplifts believers with boosts of faith; be encouraged weekly by getting Kelly’s blog posts by email. Kelly, a cheerleader of faith, is a blogger, national speaker, and author of Take Every Thought Captive, Rest Now, Battle Ready, and Fear Fighting. Kelly loves seeing the power of prayer in action. She loves seeing the expression on women’s faces when they realize – their God is faithful! Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CBN’s 700 Club, Relevant and Today’s Christian Woman

Teach Us to Pray is a FREE prayer podcast hosted by iBelieve writer Christina Patterson. Each week, she gives you practical, real-life tips on how to grow your faith and relationship with God through the power of prayer. To listen to her episode on What to Pray in the Morning for a Worry-Free Day, click below!

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