Grant Swank
Refining prayer
By Grant Swank
July 9, 2010

There are times when your thoughts jam together so much that there's nothing but mush.

You're overstressed so that thoughts circulate over and over again.

Or they pile on top of one another all at once. Thoughts start but don't finish. Then another intrudes so as to threaten to take over. Then a third takes a swing at your head.

Sometimes these jams take place in the middle of the night — dark dark dark and nowhere to go but couch and no one to talk to, obviously.

The devil can use these jams to get you confused to the nth degree. Also, that's the time doubt sets in. Is Jesus really there? Are the promises really true? Am I believing in a mist?

Finances. Marital problems. Children disappointing. Lost job. Ill health. Friends let you down. And so forth.

Sometimes these all jam at once in the cranium. Where is Jesus?

Jesus is right there. He never leaves us. He has dealt with jams before. Then let Him deal with your jam.

Surrender every thought to Jesus when it's in the good time. Learn how to "take no thought for the morrow" (Matthew 6:34).

Stick to that thought process. Let Jesus talk to you. When He is not forming your thoughts, then it's time for you to rest. Jesus orchestrates rest stops in the rhythm of thought pattern construction and silence.

We need the silence. We need the quiet. We need to shut down until Jesus plants another thought.

I mean being very practical here. Jesus will tell you to make the bed, wash the dishes, vacuum the carpet and empty the garbage. Do whatever He tells you when He tells you.

That's learning how to surrender your thought patterns to Jesus, not just the pious ones but the practical ones.

Jesus will tell you to spend that money for this or that. Jesus will tell you not to spend that money for this or that.

Jesus will tell you it's time to turn off the television and go to bed. Jesus will direct you to a book to read, a movie to watch, an outdoor scene to take in, a phone call to make.

Jesus will tell you it's time to praise Him, thank Him, tell Him that you love Him.

So when you learn how to surrender your thoughts to Jesus, taking no thought for the future but letting Jesus hold your future's security, you will be ready for the jam.

It's the same with jammed thoughts. Surrender the confusion. Jesus can handle confusion. He is up to it. Then don't wrestle with the jam. Don't try to fight it on your own. Don't try to straighten it out.

Instead, surrender the jam to Jesus. Say, "Jesus, my head is going round and round. I'm scared. I cannot control my thoughts. I now surrender my head jam to You."

I would suggest then that you go to the Psalms. I have found that by going at random to the Psalms, Jesus directs me to the verses needed. My experience has been that in time the jam unloosens by way of the Psalms' comfort and direction.

Again: don't try to unwind the jam intertwining. Don't work at making thoughts orderly. Let Jesus take the jam just as it is. He knows what to do with it.

Now here is another recommendation that I hope you will understand so as not to think I am diminishing the Jesus power.

I recommend that you see your family doctor if the jam is too often and too messed up. If it goes on and on, see your doctor.

If your doctor is like mine, he's wise. He will give you medicine to aid you in calming down the thought stress.

But why should you do this when Jesus is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-sufficient? Why not? Jesus creates medicines. They are heaven's gifts when we need them.

Therefore, Jesus may work through medicines to correct the jam clog.

Again, I don't consider this thinking less of Jesus' input. I think it as Jesus guiding me to a doctor for the medicine gift.

That's what I have experienced. My own life has directed me at times to rely on prescriptions to assist in leveling out the thought jams that pile up. They cut through depression. They help clarify my head. They work to build up my strength to carry on.

So where was Jesus in all that? Jesus was in the medicine, in the doctor's skill to provide me with what I needed and in my logic to do what was necessary.

© Grant Swank


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Grant Swank

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is a pastor at New Hope Church in Windham, Maine... (more)

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