Breaking The Press

Gwen Smith Blog 37 Comments

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. (Psalm 91:5, NIV)

Basketball is a game of hustle, teamwork and strategy, all of which I love. My introduction to the sport, however, was a good bit lame and un-strategic. Not sure why, but my parents signed me up for a rec league team in the fifth grade where I was the only girl on my team. Possibly the only girl in the league.

Now, before you go waving your girl-power pompoms and break out in resounding choruses of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, let me assure you it was neither pretty, powerful or pompom worthy, because at that point I knew more about quantum physics than the game of basketball. Yep. I knew nothing. And it frustrated me to no end that they wouldn’t allow me to run with the ball. Dribble?

Eventually, however, I grew into my dribble skills and went on to play for my junior high and high school teams. I’m on the taller side of the spectrum, so most of my playing was done under the hoop, not in the perimeter. I learned the art of rebounding, boxing out and layups. And I did my fair share of fouling. Ahem. Possibly more than my fair share.

Most of the time we played a man-to-man defense, where we each guarded a specific opponent. Occasionally, we played a zone defense. In a zone defense you cover an area instead of a player. Another defensive strategy we used was a press.

Whether we ran a full court press or a half court press, one of the goals was to isolate the opponent with the ball, and trap them with a double team in the corners. We wanted to get all up in their space with intimidation and pressure them into turning over the ball.

In order for an opponent to break the press, she had to have her eyes up and move intentionally to avoid our traps. Psalm 91 reminds me that though my basketball days are behind me, I still have an opponent and face traps every day. Thankfully, I’m also reminded that God is not only on my side, but He’s got my back in powerful and personal ways. 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
(Psalm 91:1-7)

He saves (v3), covers (v4), protects (v14) and shelters (v1).

He is a refuge and a fortress (v2), a shield and a rampart (v4).

He commands angels concerning me (v11).

And He does the same for each of His children. For each of us who call on Him (v15), love Him and acknowledge His name (v14).

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

(Psalm 91:14-15)

These truths of who God is and how He protects His people allow me to breathe in courage and trust Him more. 

These truths embolden me to keep moving forward, eyes up, in spite of the resistance or the ways I feel trapped.

These truths assure me that I am not alone, no matter what opponent I face or how loudly he gets all up in my space with intimidation.

These truths shout confidence to my soul. Do you hear it too?

God protects when the enemy presses.

He saves from snares. Covers and hovers. Holds His own while arrows fly.

Amazing, right? Go ahead and wave your pompoms now.


Good and faithful Father,

Thank You for inviting me into the safety of Your protection and presence. Help me to run to You as my Refuge and Shelter when I’m pressed hard by the enemy. Give me wisdom and insight to keep my eyes up and avoid snares.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Where are you with this today? I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or write out a prayer on my blog post or send me a DM on Instagram.

Love you guys!



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Comments 37

  1. I struggle with anxiety and when it flairs I find myself relying on my own strength instead of looking up. Please pray that my anxiety will subside and that I will be able to trust Him and not myself

  2. Hi,
    I’m a 61 yr old mother of 5- all grown but 19 yr old son still at home. (Going nowhere fast too) I have had depressing off and on most of my life. I have loved the Lord since I was 14. I am a recovering alcoholic. My husband and I have not been to church since shortly after our pastor (Jamie Buckingham) died and our church fell apart. Approx 20 something yrs ago now.
    Anyway, sometimes I am great. Feel the Lords presense, love his Word, love to talk with others about how wonderful He is. MOST times I fall into this seemingly never ending darkness of depression. A grand Canyon forms between He and I. His word reads like a dull novel. I can’t thi k, make decisions, get out of bed, want to do anything. All of His beauty looks like a fog has settled over it. Getting dressed is a chore. Making dinner impossible.
    And I haaaate myself. And pretty soon I don’t like people in general. I get angry at it all. I’m sickened unto death of it.
    Eventually He brings me out of it. But it never lasts.
    IS IT ME? Am I sinning by being this way? Does He forgive me?
    Like I said I’m 61. Obviously this is my lot in life. Obviously I can’t just wish or pray it away like Pauls thrn. But I do want to end myself sometimes. I feel like such a waste of human flesh.
    So yeah. There it is. Will you just ray for me? I’m sooooo tired of being a disappointment to Him, myself and others.
    Thank you Gen or whoever.
    Ps) love your emails I get daily

  3. I am under attack regarding my will to do my job. I’m a stay at home mom and I consider part of that job to be keeping my house clean. I usually procrastinate until it’s too late to get the work done. I know the enemy helps me to do this.

  4. Daddy God, I struggle to believe these promises are for me today & this time period because I’ve not trusted you for provision since I overspent last month. I did need those for my special diet I need, but I was disregarding my ability on my limited income to pay all that. I know you’ve forgiven me, but sin has consequences and I am afraid Lord & trust is hard – I want to ask my sister to help me out but I don’t want to squirm out of my problems & not learn what I need to learn from this & have to go around this mountain again. How can I know if it’s okay w/you to ask Sandra to help me out & show me what to say & not disobey/distrust you again? Help me, I don’t deserve it, but help me wait on you till I know what trusting you right now means. Thank you, because of Jesus & for what you want to teach me!

  5. Thank You Heavenly Father, for always being there for me during my chronic illnesses and never letting the enemy steal my joy! There may be days when my heart gets heavy and it’s easier to give in to the devils lies but thank You for the truths You spell out in Your Scriptures and today especially the ones sister Gwen has pointed out.
    Thank You LORD! In Jesus’ HOLY, HOLY, HOLY NAME, amen

  6. Just what I needed to hear. Thank you. My little 19month old granddaughter is in the high dependency unit in hospital with suspected meningitis. Her Godly parents are praying. Our church family is praying & I would really appreciate your prayers x

  7. I really needed this message today! I am currently going through a really hard break up, and most times I feel like I’m completely alone through it. The reinforcement that He is always by my side is will always fight for me is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

  8. Seasons are supposed to come and go. But when the season never seems to change it is extremely hard to hold onto these truths. I know them and say I believe them but some days the enemy is so good at stealing my peace and hope. However, thank you for the reminder of these truths.

  9. I needed this message today. Thank you, Gwen! I am worrying about my lack of health insurance; which is a ploy of my ex-to-be…and, I am fearful because I am a heart patient. I am also bipolar and, what that means is that I obsess over things. I don’t try to. I love the Lord. I take my problems to Him. Yet, I am losing sleep and worrying…to my shame. Thanks for the pom-pom worthy message today. Blessings.

  10. Hi wonderful words from Psalm 91 but wonder about the person who has not felt the protection of God.where it appears the arms of God have not fended off the enemy and they have been hurt badly in various ways.What does this passage of the safety of God say to them?

  11. I recently heard a sermon on this Psalm. Army division 91 memorize it . There are stories of when a soldier is in harms way, this section comes to mind.
    Personally, for me, it’s been a scripture that tells me
    I can rest in the Loving arms of my Jehovah knowing that he will protect me and that to dwell there is a long term relationship. I’m working on some unfounded anxieties .

  12. I was raised in the church, my daddy was a preacher but I am finding myself struggling with believing God is real! I try to pray, do devotions but feel dead inside. I am 55 yrs old, I have a alcoholic son, a son in the Navy, a daughter who is wonderful but has depression and younger son in college who does his thing but is helpful but can be rude. My husband is great but works alot. I work a job that I have no fulfillment in. Searching for a spark but not finding it.

  13. Thank you for this! So we’ll explained and easy to understand. I am a 47 year old divorced mother getting back in the dating world after 23 years of marriage and failing miserably. Just keep reminding myself that man’s rejection is God’s protection.

  14. Please pray for my children and that the Lord will direct their paths. That they wiser decisions. I pray that they draw their hearts and minds to Christ. I also ask that you pray for my finances. That the Lord will meet all of my needs. In Jesus name I pray Amen

  15. Blessings to you sisters I am needing your prayers for my daughter and my sister there employment is being threatened and it’s not because they are not performing they are at different locations one in T@T one in the USA please they need to be able to earn their living

    1. Elsa, I’m going thru the same thing due to downsizing. I pray that both your daughter and sister are safe and that God keeps them employed with no financial interruptions. I know it’s a scary time but please be encouraged, others are facing the same issue and are praying with you!

  16. Worried about my 14 year old daughter Jaeda falling away from her faith. Please keep her in your constant prayer that she may regain her passion for Jesus Christ like she use to.

  17. I hate sports so naturally I thought today’s devotion would not have an impact on me. But God sends
    messages in a way we can never understand. I am happy to be on His team and to have Him be my guard and defence. The opponent doesn’t have a chance. he is already defeated. Thanks Gwen

  18. Good day Gwen, may God bless you for touching my life with this words of encouragement, I lost my mum yesterday and my dad’s health is in critical state that we the children are finding it difficult to tell him. please pray that God will comfort me and my siblings and that God will strengthen my dad and give him the grace to bear this great lost

  19. Please pray for me all kinds of struggles right now financially and family wise trying to trust God could use some extra prayers

  20. I am hanging on to every word in the Word these days. Psalm 90 and 91 have become a great comfort to me. Thank you for being faithful to share your heart with so many of us. God is using you.

  21. Gwen,

    Wow! What a powerful post … especially for me because I’m a basketball mama and I so identify with the press and what its purpose is. Thank you!! I especially love the truths you closed with. Like a declaration we can declare over our hearts and minds. I know I did today.

    So thankful for you and your ministry, sweet friend.


    Wendy (bo’s mama)

    1. Post

      Beautiful Wendy! Yes you ARE a basketball mama!! And we all know that press, right?! Thanks for celebrating His goodness with me, friend. You are a treasure.


  22. Hi Gwen
    Please pray for my daughter Stephanie and my son Chris to believe in Jesus.
    For God to work in my friend Jeremy ‘s heart and mind so that he will believe in Jesus.

  23. Off and on me and my son have been homeless for a year now I need help from God above to get us out of this situation I pray and pray everyday all day but we are still living in my husbands truck 2years ago God took my husband from me and things have just been bad my son works he gets us a hotel room every now and then when he can but we just can’t seem to get out of my husbands truck and into a small apartment or anything I just started a job at BB & B I like it I hope God and pray that it works out for me and I can learn fast and be the best at my job, we need prayers to have a roof over our head and food there’s times we have gone without eating and having anything to drink. My husband paid into 2 insurance policies when he was with us he did his part in paying for the life insurance policies so that we could be taken care of but were denied and I have a lawyer working on one please pray with me and for us that God blesses us we need to get out of this situation i need the insurance to pay out PLEASE PLEASE pray with us and for us! Thank you and God bless you

  24. Hi Gwen, need praýer for financial blessing, I have a situation that just recently pop up but I know by the grace of God and your prayers God will help me, find a solution to my problem.

  25. After reading previous posts my prayer request seems so minor. However, I know nothing is too big or small for God to handle. He cares about each of us our big things and our small things. I have been suffering from fear and anxiety for many years . I asked for prayers for that. I also have been suffering from discomfort in the vaginal area of my body for a number of months. Some days seem to be better than others. I have yet another doctors appointment today and I’m feeling both anxiety and peace. Thank you for your prayers.

  26. Good day Gwen, thank you very much for this message. I praise the Lord for it. I was getting into a snare and this is an awakening. My aunt is currently critical in hospital and her abusive husband is already showing signs of enjoyment. This has been such a frustration for me has cause me to be very angry. I really to focus during this pressing moment and not loose my calmness.

    1. Post
  27. Where am I? Hiding… hiding under His wings. My husband of 34 years is dying of stage four small cell lung cancer. In two weeks we were diagnosed and moved from our home of almost thirty years to our daughters beautiful home and our house was packed and is being prepped by our wonderful church family for sale. It’s only been a month and a few days since entering the hospital ER thinking he has pneumonia.
    I’m a very strong believer of deep faith in my God but WOW this is hard. No anger or resentment only thankfulness for my time with him but so many changes so fast. So I’m hiding in the shadow of The Almighty!

    1. Post
      1. Yes, praying along with you sister!
        My heart breaks for you.

        May the God of all comfort be magnified in Your life!
        “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
        ‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭(NKJV‬‬)

        Stay firm and steadfast in HIM! What a perfect place for you to be under the shadow of His wings!

        “He heals the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

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