Not the Next Best Thing: The Best Thing


There’s a lot going on in life…sometimes it stretches me pretty good.  There are ministry responsibilities, family responsibilities, extended family needs, friendships that need attention, tragedy nearby, challenges of new opportunities…and the list goes on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining or looking for sympathy.  I love all the diverse facets of my life.  As I’ve shared before, I like change and variety…it’s natural.  However, sometimes I can be a little stressed about being everywhere I want or need to be.

Several years ago, Bell Telephone system had a couple of ad slogans that come to mind as I write this post.

“Long distance; the next best thing to being there.” 

“Reach out and touch someone.” 

These slogans describe so much how I feel as I think about this issue today.  Here’s what I mean.

The Challenges

Last Sunday, a good friend of mine (although we’ve only known one another for a short time and never met face-to-face…indicative of our social networking culture, right?) was baptized.  He was so excited…we talked and he asked for advice about what to say as he gave his testimony.  I shared some thoughts, some Scriptures and encouragement…and he actually used some of what I shared! 🙂  But…I so wanted to be there to share that event with him.  Several times, I said, “I wish I could be there to cheer you on.”  Afterward, he told me all about it and shared pics.  It was great.  I didn’t get to be there, but I did get to pray for him and with him in advance of the experience.  And…I thought about it…prayer is not just the next best thing to being there…it’s the best thing!  Even if I had been there, I would have prayed with and for him.  I would have touched the throne of God on his behalf and our spirits would have been knit together…because it IS the best thing…even if you can’t be there.

Tomorrow my stepfather has surgery in East Tennessee.  I’m 12 hours away, so I can’t be there to support him and my mom.  I have called (long distance is the next best thing…) and talked, encouraged and supported.  Tonight, I’ll call again and pray with them.  I can’t be there, but I CAN pray…not just the next best thing, but the best thing.  As I pray with them and for them, their hearts will be encouraged and their faith will be bolstered.  My heart will be at peace and we’ll touch the throne of grace on their behalf.

Yesterday morning, we got word that the wife of a local family was killed in a horrendous auto accident.  I didn’t know her or her immediate family personally.  I do know her husband’s brother and sister.  The husband is a friend of my brother-in-law.  I wasn’t at the home when the husband was told.  I wasn’t with him when he had to call his in-laws to share the tragic news.  However, when I received the news of the accident, I did lift the family up to the throne in prayer.  I wasn’t there…but I did the best thing…I prayed for them…and continue to do so.

Check Your Thinking

I’ve heard people say…”When you can’t do anything else, you can pray.”  I think I  understand that sentiment, but I believe it is the wrong perspective.  I say, “Pray before you do anything else.”  It shouldn’t be the last resort…it shouldn’t be the “next best thing”…it is the best thing…the first resort.  Let’s re-align our thinking about this.  When you’re stretched and can’t be in a place you want to be at a specific time…when you are separated by miles, circumstances or responsibilities, rest in the peace that God gives and just pray.

Hebrews 4:16

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

Ephesians 3:12

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome.

Ephesians 1:3-4

3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy

I would invite you to lift up a prayer need in the comments below.  Share something and pray for those who have commented.  You may also wish to comment on how you have found comfort in knowing you can come to the throne of grace on behalf of another.


4 thoughts on “Not the Next Best Thing: The Best Thing”

  1. WOWWW…that’s a lot. And thank you for continuing to pray for me. I will pray for your family and the family that is involved with the accident

  2. Randy, I am deeply sorry to hear about this husband who is grieving the sudden loss of his wife . . . prayer IS the first decision – thanks for that reminder. As always, thanks for your stimulating thoughts, bro.

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