by Annette Bridges. © 2007. All rights reserved.

I’ve been visiting my daughter and son-in-law these past few days. As some readers of my columns may recall, my son-in-law is in the Air Force. And I continue to be ever humbled by his and other soldiers’ willingness to protect and defend our country.

The sacrifices these men and women make as a result of their commitment are vast indeed. My recent visit has taught me there is much more involved than the accomplishment of their many responsibilities and duties, however. Their “readiness” also requires much practice. They spend countless hours in readiness exercises and mission planning before executing their respective jobs and assignments.

I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I adequately equipped for each of my days?” Or perhaps this question includes other questions. Such as, “Am I prepared for the unexpected?” Or in the wake of the recent California fires, if I had to flee my house in the next five minutes, would I be ready?

Many books and websites provide useful and practical tips and suggestions for preparing for emergencies and disasters. But undoubtedly living through a major catastrophe in one’s life will require much more than an escape plan and survival kit, good and important though they may be.

Is prayer and Bible study more important to our life readiness than we realize?

Shortly after her divorce, my mom certainly illustrated for me the benefit of prayer and turning to the Bible for direction and guidance when she and I were forced to leave our home one night. We were attempting to escape from my dad, who we were certain was en route to kill us both before taking his own life. We grabbed what we could in about “five minutes” and left, never to return. I’ve written about this experience before.

From what I can recall now, some 40 years later, losing most all that we owned was not the end of our world. Nor did experiencing this unexpected trauma cause permanent emotional scars. Yes, there were undesirable difficult times I would never want anyone to experience. But it seems my mom’s daily practice of prayer and study, in spite of grave circumstances, inspired her with hope and encouragement, enabled her to feel gratitude and peace of mind, and gave her courage and vision to start a new life for us both.

I must admit that I don’t always set aside time daily for study and prayer. Sometimes I think I’m just too busy with the many details of my day to take time for what would make me more ready for implementing the details of my day. Remembering our American soldiers, I can see the import and value of readiness practice and how this practice enables one to accomplish exactly what needs to be accomplished in the most efficient and accurate way.

Paul gives us instruction that supports the idea of our readiness practice. He says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God …. rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). I’ve always taken this to mean that Bible study would help me to better understand God and how to fulfill my divine purpose. And he says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I think Paul saw prayer as a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment guide to our life, not something we do only at bedtime, before a meal or on Sunday. How can we know and live God’s will for our lives without listening for His constant directing?

I’m making a commitment to be more diligent in my readiness practice each day. Perhaps some days I will spend more hours in study, but I’m going to remind myself that prayer is a constant between God and me. That no matter what is happening around me or to me, I will never forget for a moment that God is all, that God is Love, that God is omnipotent and ever-present. I’m pledging to maintain my post of spiritual observation and never desert it.

No task is impossible to do and no calamity is impossible to overcome with the divine Infinite guiding our every step. Daily readiness and preparation will keep us poised for action and equipped for progress and victory.