It was announced today that jobless claims rose to 474,000 for the week, an eight month high!

“You’ve got to pray just to make it today.” Those were the words of M.C. Hammer. As many of us think about the uncertainty of our future, job market, or the economy, we need a way to “make it today.”

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

As I read those words, I am filled with… well, skepticism. I know I believe it, but the question is how to do it?! How do you not worry? Often when things get bad, we say things like, “All we can do is pray…” As if prayer is the last resort and a last stand. Instead, Paul tells us that the way we stop worrying is by focusing on God instead of our worries: To PRAY FIRST!  Rather than rehearse our financial concerns which are often beyond our control, we should hand them to God in prayer and tell him what we need. Here Paul also unveils another way to combat worry. He tells us to thank God for all He’s done.    Psychologists call the process of changing what you think or meditate upon cognitive therapy made popular in the 1970’s. The Bible calls it “renewing the mind” or “setting your mind on heavenly things.” The Psalms called it soul talk, the ability to talk truth about God to your own soul in prayer. In fact, the prayers in Psalms often begin with an inside look at the worries and anxieties of the writer and end with the writer telling himself where he wants to be. He uses God’s truth to move himself from fear to faith.

The process of seeing where you are and where you need to go can be overwhelming. Whether it’s the need for a job, the mountain of credit card debt, or the intimidating horizon of paying for college, but let me offer some real hope.

3 X 3 X 3 = 27

4 X 4 X 4 = 64

The sum of those two equations is large. One is more than double the other. The difference between 27 and 64 is significant. It can be overwhelming to think about getting from here to there. When we think about where we are and where we want to be, it can be overwhelming.  Whether the destination is an improved bank account, prayer life, marriage, or less worry, here is where prayer and planning unleash a miraculous God factor. If you take just three areas of your life and tweak them…move them from a 3 to a 4…that’s not too overwhelming. If you take your prayer life and put it on a scale of 1-10, moving from a 3 (below average) to a 10 (Mother Theresa) can be mind-boggling; but a slight improvement from a 3 to a 4 seems doable. A slight forward momentum from a 3 to a 4 is within reach, right? You can do that.

If you pick three areas and tweak them from a 3 to a 4 and combine them with prayer, the God factor kicks in. When that happens, the cumulative factor of tweaking three areas by a small degree multiples huge dividends. The difference between 27 and 64, simply by seeing some progress in three areas.   Don’t think about getting out of all your debt, pray and plan to move your pay-down-debt factor from a 3 to a 4.  After making a plan, pray that God steps in to multiple your efforts. You may not see how you can increase your savings to have a $1000 emergency fund this month, so start with $20 a week.  Just increase your savings from a “3” to a “4.”   Do the same with your worries and prayer life, tweak them up slightly and trust God to work.

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty

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