Prayer is a beautiful thing! It is powerful and authentic communication with God our Father and Creator. And likely something most of us do far too little.
When are you most likely to pray? When you are sad? In trouble? Happy? Blessed? Do you use prayer as a last resort when you realize that without God there is no way things are going to be as they need to be? Or at least as we perceive that they need to be. Is prayer just our last attempt to get what we want?
What if we approached prayer more as an opportunity to listen than to speak? What if the One who made us wants something more for us than what we would pray for ourselves? What if that requires praying for things we don’t want – praying hard prayers for the glory of God?
I’ve mentioned before that in my second pregnancy I found myself praying for miscarriage because I knew it was inevitable. That was probably the hardest prayer I’ve ever prayed!
And now I find myself praying yet another difficult prayer – one that really has nothing to do with me.
For so long, I prayed for “couple friends” for me and my husband, as we have both pretty much always just had separate friends. About two years ago God answered that prayer with two amazing friends! But now, as I type this, they are 600 miles away exploring a job opportunity and trying to discern if God would have them move.
Everything within me is screaming “NO!” My prayers waver drastically between “God, hit this city with a meteor so they can’t move!” and “Thy will be done.”
Again, this has nothing to do with me. I have absolutely no say in whether or not they move. I mean I suppose I could beg them with tears or slash the moving truck’s tires, but in the end, this is between them and God. And all I can do is yell “Not fair!” and ask God why He makes all of my friends move. (Seriously, I haven’t even lived near my best friend in 19 years. And this will be my fourth friend(s) to move in 7 years!)
So, literally all I can do is pray the very difficult prayer of “whatever is best for them, and whatever is Your will, that is what I want.” even when it’s hard to mean it. Truth be told, my prayer is more “God, Your will be done as long as it doesn’t mean they have to move.”
How many times do we do that: pray to God with contingencies?
“God I surrender my whole life to you, except this one area. Or, just don’t make me go to Africa, or be poor, or give up coffee, or do something hard.”
God has a plan for each of our lives, but we are really going to put ourselves in a box if we aren’t willing to do the hard thing.
But thankfully, we don’t have a Great High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15)
In the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before He was crucified, just a short time before Judas betrayed Him with a kiss, Jesus, knowing full well what was about to transpire, prays to His Father:
My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will. (Matt 26:39 ESV)
Of all the prayers ever prayed, I’m not sure there exists one as difficult to utter as this one was. Jesus, willing to endure torture and crucifixion because it is God’s will, and yet still asking that it not be. But in the end, He is obedient – and aren’t we all so glad He was?!
So I don’t yet know if my friends will actually end up moving; I kind of suspect they will. But I do know that God’s will is greater than the things I want in my humanness, and I am comforted in knowing that I am in good company as even Jesus was bold enough to ask God that He maybe change His will to something else. Maybe something easier?
What hard prayers have you had to pray lately? Have you been able to come around to “Thy will be done?” His ways are higher than ours so we can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.
This is the song I currently have on “repeat” as I pray to desire His will alone. I hope you will enjoy it as well!
Lord, change the desires of our hearts so we only want what You want and nothing else!