The Best I Can Do
Marybeth Whalen

“Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is any one happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” James 5:13 (NIV)

I waited for my friend’s small group leader to finish her conversation with another lady before I shyly asked her if she had heard from my friend, whose husband had left her just a few weeks before. I knew my friend was probably not going to be at Bible study but I wanted to make sure she was doing okay. Her small group leader told me she had spoken with my friend and that she was, considering the circumstances, doing well. I told her I was glad to hear that, and asked if she knew of anything I could do for my friend during this difficult trial. Her leader put her hand on my shoulder and replied, “I told her that people will say that all they can do is pray. But really, that’s the best we can do. We can pray for her. We can storm the gates of heaven on her behalf. She needs our prayers right now so we will just keep praying.”

As I walked away, I thought about our conversation and wondered how many times I had idly commented that praying was “all I could do.” What I meant was that my prayers were a last resort, something to do when there was nothing else I could do – no meals I could bring, no Band-Aids I could apply to the hurt, no actions I could take. And yet, I was missing the best possible response I could have. I needed that reminder that praying is not a last resort, it’s a first response. It’s not the action of a powerless, hopeless person whose hands are tied in every other way. It’s the powerful, Heaven-summoning activity of a warrior who doesn’t want to fight alone. Praying, as I learned that morning, isn’t all I can do, it’s the best I can do.

Are you facing a situation right now that you can’t do anything about? Maybe you are watching someone go through something that you can’t help with. Do you wonder what good it will do to pray? Do you despair of anything changing, or of your prayers helping? Have you, like me, shrugged your shoulders and commented that all you have left is prayer—when really your prayers are exactly what is needed?

Let’s focus today on doing what’s best. Let’s get on our knees for ourselves, our family members, our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our friends and our nation. Let’s focus on the power in our prayers. Our intercession, and nothing more, might be exactly what God desires. Let’s not forget that we can offer the most help when we are on our knees.

Dear Lord, Thank You for being there any time I need to come to You. Thank You for giving us a way to talk to You and for Your promise that You will hear us when we pray. Help me to remember that prayer isn’t all I can do, it’s the best I can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

31 Days of Prayer by Ruth Myers

Recipe for Christmas Joy e-book by Marybeth Whalen

Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog

Application Steps:
Is there someone on your heart today who needs your prayers? Spend today lifting that person up, then send them a card telling them that you have been praying and will continue to. Include any verses that God brought to mind as you prayed. You never know when these verses will serve as a powerful comfort or confirmation of what God is doing in their life.

Do you see prayer as the best thing you can do or is it a last resort?

How can you make a shift in attitude and begin to see the power of prayer, going to God first when trouble comes instead of after all other efforts have been exhausted?

Power Verses:
James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

Luke 18:1, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (NIV)

Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the devoition. I have a few family members that I see are going backward instead of going forward in the Lord. I kept saying "all I can do is pray". Wishing there was something else I could do to help. Now, from your devoition I know and believe "the BEST I can do is PRAY".

Thank you for listening to our Lord and giving this devoition at the right time.

May our Father richly bless you!

Blogger Randysgirl said...

Thank you!!! This devotion is just what I needed to day. I am going to God in prayer right now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God always has the right answer at the right time. It may come thru Prov. 31 Min. or it may come straight from my Bible reading. Today God gave it thru you. I awoke from a horrible dream to remember part of that dream is true, and I must keep praying. I have seen His hand work so many times. Reassurance never hurts, thank you for your words.

Blogger Sandra in Phx said...

What a great gentle reminder that prayer is so powerful! The Lord is so faithful to bless me with this devotional today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have friends who are going through a difficult time in their marriage. My heart aches at the thought that they may split up and what would happen to their family. I've been praying and asking God for a miracle, however feeling like how could my prayers possibly make a difference in a situation that seems impossible. That was a good reminder to pray and never give up. He is God over the impossible!

Blogger Jamie said...

WOW!!!! Thank you, Prayer is SO important. My mom has been diagnosed with cancer....she is not saved. I just learned of this last night and the first thing I did was call my friend to put my mom on a prayer chain.....The Lord is mighty to save. I would love for people around the world to lift her up to the our wonderful and powerful Lord. Thank you MaryBeth and everyone from Proverbs31 ministries for the uplifting devotionals. God bless you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. I was feeling very downhearted over some things about my 22 yo daughter and just about how my day got started today and reading your devo helped me tremendously. I have said many times that all I can do for my daughter is pray... but that is the BEST I can do. Thanks.

God bless you,

Blogger Growth in God said...

Wow did this hit for our family today. My husband is looking to a new job, he just put in a resume today. THe first words out of my mouth were we needed to pray about it. It is so true that prayer is the answer to all things. I love your page. I hope you dont mind that I have linked to it. Blessings to you and yours
Sunshine- Magnolia Texas

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do serve an awesome God who is mighty to hear our prayers. For anyone with loved ones struggling with marriage issues, please refer them to Rejoice Marriage Ministries. Charlyne and Bob are a wonderful example of what God can do. I have been praying for my "absent" husband and their ministry has been Bible based and God filled, and leads me to Him for all the answers, as does Proverbs 31. Thank you ALL! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Blogger Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

Very beautiful and uplifting..thank you

Anonymous Anonymous said...


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