Growing in Grace, Prayer, Uncategorized

Have You Tried Restarting It?

A few weeks ago, I spent two and a half hours chatting with three different Apple support staff. I read no less than a dozen how-to articles from various tech websites. I even called my PC-loving husband with a last-ditch request for help. The first question was always the same: “Have you tried restarting it?”

The first couple times they asked, I responded with gracious, “Yes, I have.” Then I moved on to a snarky, “Of course.” When I finally called my husband before I threw my computer out the window, he said, “Did you restart the computer?” and I huffed, “Yes, I’m not an idiot!”

As frustrated as I was in that moment, I understood why this was the first line of defense. Regularly rebooting your computer helps clear away temporary files, clean out its memory, and reset any code causing a computer to malfunction. It allows a computer to rest, restart, and try again. Even machines need a moment to breathe when nothing seems to be working.

I was talking (and complaining) to a friend the other day about an ongoing and frustrating situation in my motherhood. She listened intently—bearing my burden with me—then asked, “Have you prayed about this?”

I bristled in pride that she would even ask such a thing. Of course, I would pray about an issue that had been draining me physically, emotionally, and spiritually the past few weeks. Yet the more I thought about it, I realized I had never brought my burden to the Lord. I sheepishly admitted to her that it hadn’t even crossed my mind to pray about it.

We stopped right then and prayed together, and for the rest of the day I wondered what else I had forgotten to pray about. Scripture is filled with commands to pray, even “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV). Yet in the hustle and bustle of my day, this simple yet powerful practice often gets lost between to-do lists, calendar notifications, and my children’s cries for help. I mistakenly believe I don’t have enough time to stop and pray, or even lift a quick plea in the car on the way to another appointment. Instead, I spend my time working harder attempting to keep my day on track.

When my laptop malfunctioned, I was trying everything to fix it. Clearing my browser cache, deleting files, and even resetting certain programs. When I face challenges in my day, I’m quick to troubleshoot. I’ll text a friend for advice. I’ll search the internet for relevant articles. I’ll try to resolve it in my own strength and knowledge.

Yet all my striving doesn’t get to the root of the problem. I don’t need more of my own effort but more reliance on God. I don’t need more work but more prayer.

When a crisis hits my home, prayer may appear like the least “productive” option. However, like resetting my computer clears away the files, bugs, and programs that are getting in the way of it functioning properly, prayer allows me to reset my heart and mind. I’m reminded who God is— “Our Father in Heaven.” I submit my will to his— “Your will be done.” I’m reminded of my dependence on him— “Give us this day our daily bread.” I confess the ways I have sinfully acted in self-reliance and selfishness— “Forgive us our debts.” Finally, I ask him to help me through this hardship— “Deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13, ESV).

Prayer allows me to restart. It’s a checkpoint throughout my day to remember that I am the daughter of my good and gracious Father who has invited me to come to him with my needs. Before I try anything in my own limited power and ability, I can first turn to my limitless Creator and King. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV). Like the computer that miraculously regains its life after restarting, I regain my fullness of joy in the Father’s presence through prayer (Psalm 16:11).

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