Prayer in difficult circumstances

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Several years ago, I had a few ladies over for a Bible study and one girl asked for us to pray for a physical issue she was having.  Another lady started to pray for her and her prayer was something like this: “Lord, first I want to thank you for being at work here and for allowing this difficult situation, because we know that that’s how we grow. So please teach her what You want her to learn from this. Draw her closer to You through this. May she come away from this a different person, more like Your Son. Give her the patience she needs to endure, and open her eyes to see You at work in her life.”

The lady who prayed that prayer was my friend, Carol. I’ve heard her pray many times like this since then. But that first time I heard her, I had to stop and ask myself why I hadn’t been praying like that before. My first reaction to that kind of request had always been, “Please take away this pain” or maybe “relieve the pain and give her comfort”…rather than, “Please teach her– THROUGH the pain and BECAUSE of the pain– what You want her to learn.” It’s a radically different approach to prayer, and I think the most startling part of that prayer was that she started it with thanksgiving! Actually THANKING God for the difficult circumstance!

Carol is the spiritual mentor I mentioned in my marriage posts, and she taught me how to pray this way for my marriage. Rather than begging God to hurry up and fix my problems, I learned to pray that God would teach me through the process, that He would take me deeper, and transform me through the pain. When I mentioned before that we wrote out prayer cards, it was not just about writing out cards. It was about allowing God to teach me how to pray, to get my mind off my problems, and to get God’s perspective on things.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said (and I’m loosely quoting here!) that the purpose of prayer is not to try to move God our way, but to allow Him to move us HIS way. This is what God was teaching me with all of this, and what He’s still continuing to teach me.

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3 Responses to “Prayer in difficult circumstances”

  1. Gail Yates Says:

    I always enjoy your “messages”–they are such an inspiration…keep it up! Love you, Gail

  2. Carlos Says:

    Indeed. I agree with Gail all the way. Such an inspiration. Thank you.

  3. Regina Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have a situation right now that I’m struggling with that I need to pray for with this attitude.

    Love you!!

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