Hurricane Patricia has been classified as a category 5 hurricane, and is being called the “strongest hurricane ever recorded in the western hemisphere”. That is two levels above Hurricane Katrina which, you might recall, created massive havoc as a strong category 3 hurricane in 2005.
Just as you’d expect, there have been lots of windows boarded up, sand bags layered, people evacuated, and store shelves cleaned out, in preparation for dealing with this storm. There is also ad nauseum weather coverage preempting the shows you really want to watch on TV. How many different weather radars and videos of rushing floodwaters can they show?
Apparently…very…many. So you are forced to watch plan B…or actually start doing your homework. But I digress.
This all is part and parcel of any storm or emergency event. People get prepared, as they should. But, why do these preparations usually only happen right before a storm or emergency?
Well, you can’t board up windows or evacuate your house on a Tuesday just because you feel like it. How can you prepare for an emergency before you even know there will be an emergency? you ask.
Great question! I’m glad you asked.
The answer is: you train for an emergency so when one comes, you will be ready. Yes, there are some parts you can only do just before the emergency, but at least one do ahead of time piece can be something like creating an action plan:
- map out your exit route;
- determine where your family will meet up if you aren’t in the same place when something happens;
- assign everyone a task (Mom grabs the emergency backpack, kids grab the activity kit and the dog);
- be sure electronics are charged;
- have backup batteries;
- always have food on hand that won’t spoil, bottled water, and a first aid kit.
But, you might say, I feel like one of those over-exuberant doomsday people. Tough noogies! Those over-exuberant doomsday people will be the only ones prepared when some big catastrophe hits and we’re all going to be searching out their shelters!
SWAT officers don’t just prepare two hours before a hostage situation, they train daily so they are ready when (not if) a situation happens. We must train (i.e. pray) daily for the storms of life, the unplanned, unexpected emergencies that hit us without warning.
There is no Doppler radar warning for a sudden death of a loved one. A sudden job loss. An unexpected cancer diagnosis. Daily dealings with ugly people who are in positions of authority that are higher on the totem pole than we are. Our kids getting super sick.
How do we prep for these emergencies? Oftentimes it is more of a reaction than any proactive action; however, we can train ourselves to be proactive, we can program our muscle memory so when something happens, we react automatically in the right way.
If someone came up to you and commanded you to “scale a wall” or “breach a door”, you might look at them cross-eyed. But, once you do those activities 50 times, you’ll be a natural and you won’t have to think about how to do them because you have already created muscle memory. You have already trained your body how to do what to do without thinking about what to do.
Same with prayer. The first time you do it, you might feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know the “right” words, the “right” way to do it, blah, blah. News flash: the only “wrong” way is NOT to do it.
We are fighting battles whether we acknowledge them or not. I should say, the enemy is fighting us, are we paying attention?
The SWAT team wouldn’t show up to a call in bermuda shorts and a sexy t-shirt, although there is usually a t-shirt under there…and it really is sexy (have you seen the SWAT guys?). The fact is they have full gear on and there’s a reason for that gear. And they know how to use that gear!
We need to put our armor on every single day, for ourselves and our children. It’s easy. Even if you don’t know anything else to say, start with “Thank You, Jesus, for today. I claim Your armor (Eph 6:10-18) for… In Your name, Amen.”
Bam. Prayer done. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the less you have to think about doing it. Then, when something happens, you will deal with it more calmly and less impulsively because you have already created that muscle memory within yourself to stop, pray, breathe, then act.
You might not think of yourself as a “prayer warrior” immediately, but you have to start somewhere and this is a great first step. Now go and face your day like a beast! Or a non-beast. Wherever you may be!