When Tempted to Give Up, Throw in the Towel, and Run Away: Praying through Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for adopting us into a family of brothers and sisters who ran, walked, and crawled this life of faith long before us. None of our pains, heartaches, and failures is unique to us. Many of your beloved children have experienced exactly what we’re going through, and much more and much worse. Forgive us for thinking otherwise.

let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

So rather than hunkering down in our pain, we want to humble ourselves before you; rather than running away, we choose to run to you; rather than giving up, we want to “grace-up.” Grant us the power of your Spirit to strip off the weight of our unbelief, self-absorption, and pity-parties. And forgive us for trying to minimize or micro-manage our sin, rather than collapsing on Jesus, in repentant faith and love.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Father, right now, we unplug the GPS of our runaway strategy, and enter the race and destination you’ve marked out for us—confident that you will grant us the endurance we need. Though it may be painful to get there, any place you take us is better than any place we’d choose for ourselves.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Thankfully, the burden isn’t on us, but on Jesus—who took our sin and will now take us to the end.  Hallelujah, for so great a salvation and so great a Savior! Hallelujah, that from beginning to end, this journey is one of grace—even when it hurts.

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

Lord Jesus, thank you for going to the cross for me, and for exhausting my guilt and taking my shame. Thank you that the joy that filled your heart, you now pray will fill mine. Thank you that you will complete the good work you began in me. Right now, I choose to take up your cross, rather than “throw in my towel.” So very Amen I pray, in your tender and triumphant name.