Contact and cover is a tactic often used by officers or soldiers in potentially dangerous situations. The basic goal is to watch another person’s back, shielding them from harm to prevent misfortune. In life, we see this time and again: the grandmother who prayed for us, the father who kept watch as we slept at night, the friend who never abandoned their post. Some of us are experts at covering others, but not necessarily ourselves.
Our prayer list may be long, filled with the names of church friends, sister friends, their marriages and children, the sick and shut-in, workplace drama, family drama, and even baby mama drama. And yet, sometimes the one who diligently covers so many with positive affirmations can often leave herself exposed. They take careful inventory of other people’s needs but rarely their own, forgetting that sometimes the first prayer we should whisper is the one for ourselves.
When Jesus and his band of brothers spent the night in the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked them to watch his back as he prayed. Here is a man with a due date looming over his head. The other side of tomorrow is death. But, his trusted companions can barely keep their eyes open as he weeps and quietly acknowledges his doubts, worries, fears, and denied desires.
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ “ (Matthew 26:39)
There was no one watching his back. But, Jesus made contact with his Father, and covered himself. One of the most loving, kind, and considerate things we can do for ourselves is what we often do for others—pray. Blessings come down when praise goes up, and we stay prayed up. This doesn’t mean we’ll lead a life free of trouble, but it means we know how to anchor ourselves during life’s storms. The ultimate umbrella is the one we provide ourselves. Cover yourself.
“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
There, in the solitude of our thoughts and meditations, we can be humble enough to ask for help, curious enough to seek answers, and bold enough to believe we’ve already received it.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Would a soldier go into enemy territory without a battle plan and adequate protection? Probably not. Similarly, if you want to survive life’s circumstances, cover yourself. Always.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)