Power Through vs. Pray Through: How to Embrace Strength

As believers, we often declare our hope is in Jesus without hesitation. But let’s take a moment to reflect deeper. Is our faith evident in our daily lives, or do our calendars and bank accounts tell a different story? Do we power through our days, or do we look to pray through our days?

The Illusion of Self-Reliance

I’ve always prided myself on my hard work and self-sufficiency. The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality has been my creed. I’ve embraced Philippians 4:13, but often out of context:

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13, ESV

Too often, I focus on “I can do all things” and forget the crucial part: “through him who strengthens me.” This misinterpretation leads me to believe I can power through any circumstance on my own strength.

My schedule is over crowded…It’s OK. I’ll make it work.

My to do list is too long…It’s OK. I’ll get it done.

My dreams are too big…It’s OK. I’ll figure it out.

These self-reliant affirmations leave no room for the Holy Spirit to work. 

The Question: Power Through or Pray Through?

Do you “power through” or “pray through” life’s challenges? Reflecting on this can reveal much about our spiritual health.

Characteristics of Those Who Power Through

1. People Pleasing Tendencies

I confess: I am a recovering people pleaser. If you find yourself working hard to meet others’ expectations, struggling to say “no,” and depending on others for validation, you might be in the same boat. Here’s a sobering reminder:

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 

Galatians 1:10, ESV

2. Lack of Spiritual Awareness

In my quest to power through tasks, I often lose sight of Jesus. My focus shifts to my own abilities and efforts. Without acknowledging the Holy Spirit, I miss out on divine strength:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Ephesians 6:10, ESV

It doesn’t say, “Be strong.” It says, “Be strong in the Lord.” Without Him, we miss the true source of strength.

3. Pride in Disguise

Pride can subtly infiltrate our lives. The Bible is clear that pride leads to downfall:

“Pride goes before destruction,  and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16:18, ESV

Recognizing pride is crucial because it can be the root of many sins. Everyone struggles with pride in some form. Where does your pride show up?

A Personal Reflection

As I write this, I’m sipping from a coffee mug that reads, “She believed she could, so she did.” This sentiment resonates with my tendency to power through. Yet, I know I am a work in progress. Each day offers a chance for growth and sanctification. My hope is to pray through more of my challenges this week than I did last week.

We must intentionally invite God into our daily struggles. Instead of relying on our own strength, let’s turn to prayer, seeking His guidance and support. 

Small Steps Toward Change

Recognize the signs of people-pleasing, acknowledge when you’re losing spiritual focus, and confront pride. Start small. Pause and pray when you feel overwhelmed. Over time, these small steps will foster a greater reliance on God.

Our journey of faith is a continuous process of growth. By shifting from powering through to praying through, we can experience God’s power in our lives. Let’s place our hope not in our own abilities, but in Jesus, who strengthens us.

Remember, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” is about recognizing the source of our strength. Trust in Him, and let your life reflect that hope.


Image painted by Tyra Harnishfeger with Let’s Make Art watercolor tutorial.



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