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A One-Word Prayer for Strength in Difficult Times

When your day feels like a slog, try this short, Bible-based prayer.

One-word prayer for strength
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Some people seem to skate through life, smiling and singing, with hardly a care in the world. I try to steer clear of those people. I’m a generally positive person, but I do have my ups and downs. There are days when things go smoothly, and I feel encouraged and energized. But then there are days when I think (and sometimes say), “Why’s my life gotta be so hard?” When I feel like I’m trying to push a rock up a steep hill. When it’s really hard to keep going. 

On days like those, and in a time like this, I’m learning to pray a little more, and sometimes I pray just one word, over and over: Ebenezer. 

Yes, I know that was the first name of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, but the word goes back much farther than Dickens. It’s actually a biblical word. 

It’s from the days when the Philistines were the arch enemies of God’s people. (Remember Goliath? He was one of them.) The Philistines often fought Israel and oppressed them. But one day, the Bible says, “the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle” (1 Samuel 7:10, NIV). God’s people asked the prophet Samuel to pray, and he did:

That day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites….Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:10, 12, NIV). 

Ebenezer, like many Hebrew words, combines two words: eben (stone) and ezer (help). The stone was a marker indicating, “thus far the Lord has helped us,” and expressing faith that He would lead them on from there. 

It’s a great word to pray, especially when I’m struggling to keep going. It reminds me that God has helped me many, many times before. It encourages me with the realization that He’s with me now, no less than He was then. And it energizes me to believe that He will help me, not only to keep going, but to find peace and joy, in God’s time

Try it. Pray “Ebenezer,” especially when you struggle to keep going. That one-word prayer can help you remember God’s faithfulness in the past and rely on His rock-solid help in the future.

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