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Problem Solving

I enjoy reading and discovering new things. I also enjoy going through the app store for my smartphone and seeing innovative ways to solve problems. Under one section, there was a list of apps to help students with homework. All you had to do was to send a question or take a photograph of a problem, and the app would search its database of millions of homework answers. In a short time, the app promises that it would give you the answer and the details to go along with it.

We have a lot of information and resources at our fingertips. It is easy to find solutions to problems and find answers to our questions. If we have a plumbing problem, we can look up a plumber on an app and within an hour read reviews, peruse the top plumbers in the neighborhood, and have one on the way to fix the problem.

Of course, with the help of apps and other resources, we can solve problems and fill our lives with so many other things that “need” to get done. No wonder prayer gets lost in all of our busyness. If there is an app for that, then I can peruse instead of pray. We are quickly losing sight of God as our problem solver. When we face the mess, we exhaust every one of our resources; and if we have no solution, then prayer might come to mind.

Sometimes our prayers become routine. We have a bubble of our favorite things to ask God. “Bless my family, the church, and the pastor.” Or, “Help those who are sick and homeless.” Then we go about in our own bubble of work, play, and solving our own problems. Perhaps when we reach an impasse, we may think to let these bubbles collide, but once issues are resolved, we go back to separate bubbles.

In light of our lifestyles, we find a strange request in the first book of Thessalonians. Paul reminds the members of the Thessalonica Church to, “Pray continually,” or, “Pray without ceasing.”(1) Perhaps people back then had more time on their hands, and they could open the prayer lines and dialog with God; but maybe not. Back then, they had to actually figure out a homework problem or look for a plumber just in case their sewer system backed up.

Either way, Paul must have known something about humans with problems connecting to God who has all resources at His fingertips. Perhaps He had a deep understanding of our broken efforts to fixing problems. Maybe He understood that when we invite God to abide with us continuously, we would get answers to questions, fix problems, and develop a relationship with Him.

Prayer is a place to, “Let your requests be made known to God,”(2) but it is also a place for fellowship, strength, wisdom and so much more. It is a place where we become a part of His kingdom.

  1. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIVUK & ASV, respectively)
  2. Philippians 4:6 (NASB)

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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