Prayer > Google1
by Mary Grace Conrad
I am a compulsive Googler.
Whether it’s for answering simple questions like, “How long to bake boneless chicken thighs” or a medical question to find out what skin cancer looks like – I am quick to whip my phone out and seek answers from Google. It’s how we decided on our baby’s name, and it’s how I learned how to refinish my kitchen table. You can honestly find an answer to any question imaginable in less than a minute.
A couple of days ago I was on Facebook, and I kept seeing advertisements for a fancy baby monitor called an Owlet. This Owlet baby monitor supposedly monitors oxygen levels while your infant sleeps to potentially prevent SIDS. Next thing I know, I am completely overwhelmed with the fear of SIDS (and basically having a baby altogether). This is what my Google history looked like:
“Owlet baby monitor”
“How to prevent SIDS”
“What to do if your baby’s nose is stopped up”
“How to treat a common cold in babies”
“Can babies sleep in a Rock-n-Play”
“Do Rock-n-Play’s cause flat head syndrome”
“How to prevent flat heads in babies”
“How does sleeping in the same room as your baby prevent SIDS”
I was flipping through Google articles from 8:10 to 9:39 a.m. Even though I had learned valuable information about SIDS, common colds, and flat head syndrome, you can easily see by the progression of my Google searches that my obsession to find answers only intensified. Before I even crawled out of bed or had a cup of coffee, I had begun my day with doubt and fear. I knew I had to do something about my neurotic Googling habits or I’d be doomed for a constant state of fear and insecurity.
As I stepped back to determine the root of my Obsessive Compulsive Googling Disorder, I realized two things:
- I need to pray more
- I need to pray first
Prayer is the most basic expression of faith, yet I often seek answers from the internet at the first inking of doubt. Philippians 4:6 says,
“Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
That means I need to pray about baby monitors, newborns, the fear of motherhood, doubt – EVERYTHING. After all, God knows what I need before I even ask him (Matthew 6:8). Philippians 4:7 continues to say that,
“You will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Underneath all of my Google questions, peace is what I’m really seeking – peace that can only come from the Father. When I look for peace and security from any other source, the nature of doubt remains, regardless of the answers I find. The doubt always returns and I continue the never-ending search for answers. When I seek peace and answers through prayer, God’s peace will guard my heart and mind; nothing on this earth can promise me that kind of peace.
I say “first” because I do eventually pray, but it’s usually as a last resort. After I’ve Googled, called my mom, talked to Alec, and texted a friend, then I pray. I’ve allowed myself to get to a point where I don’t even consider or think to pray until I’ve exhausted all other efforts. Matthew 6: 33 says,
“Seek first the kingdom of God, above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
Notice it doesn’t say, “Seek God after you’re done talking to your husband, mom, or looking on the internet for answers.” Seek Him FIRST. This is a huge struggle for me because I want answers fast and I want to feel immediate relief. I convince myself that I can do it myself and by my own research and efforts. Yet it never fails: I always feel worse when I do not seek God first. Who else better to run to than the one who created me and the one who knows my future? I have to decide every day that spending time in prayer first is the most important thing I can do that day. When I seek God first, I start my day with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Then God’s peace is sure to follow me (Philippians 4:8-9)
So I challenge myself and I challenge you, too: Who or what do you run to in times of doubt? Remember that the greatest power and privilege any person can have is the ability to call on the Lord in times of trouble. He is our refuge and strength, always ready to help.