Get Back to the Basics - The Warrior's Journey®

Get Back to the Basics

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.’” (Acts 4:24) 

In July 1961 one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history, Vince Lombardi, began training season by giving a heart-to-heart talk to his players, the Green Bay Packers. The Packers had done wonderfully well the previous season. At least that’s what most fans thought. After all, Lombardi had only come to the team in 1959 and their 1958 season record was a miserable 1-10-1. In the 1960 season Lombardi had brought them within a yard of the NFL Championship. But they failed to score right at the end zone, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.   

The players were eager to put that loss behind them and go on to the next level. Lombardi had a different idea. Lombardi knew his team had to get back to the basics and master the fundamentals. So he began his lecture, holding up a pigskin, and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Six months later his team won the NFL Championship by defeating the New York Giants, 37-0. 

Nowhere is it more critical to get back to the basics than in our spiritual journey. Take a lesson from the apostles’ prayer. Peter and John had just spent the night in jail for proclaiming the gospel. When they returned to the church they informed them that they had been ordered by the Sanhedrin to preach no more about Jesus. Under the threat of persecution and imprisonment the apostles lifted their voices and prayed (Acts 4:24-30). 

But they do not begin their prayer, “Lord, don’t you hear the threats of the Sanhedrin? They’re threatening to punish us if we preach anymore in Jesus’ name.”  No. They go back to the basic truths of the Bible. “Lord, You are the Creator. This is Your world, not theirs.  You’re the One we owe allegiance to, not them. They, as well as we, will answer to You.”  The apostles go back to their reason for existence – to proclaim the Gospel. They don’t even mention the threat until the end of the prayer. And then they don’t ask God to remove the threat.  They only ask for boldness to proclaim God’s word and for God to confirm the word with signs and wonders. The apostles go back to the very basics – beginning with God.   

And when the challenges of life threaten us, let’s back to basics as well. “God, You are the One who created me, saved me, and started me on this journey. You are the One who began a good work in me and You will perfect it until the day Christ returns.” 


  • Do we ever “outgrow” the basics of God’s love for us and Christ’s redemption? 
  • Will we ever reach a stage in which we no longer need these blessings? 
  • Wasn’t Paul’s greatest lesson, “God’s power is perfected in our weakness”? 

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.