What are we praying for?
When circumstances get tough, the temptation is to pray that the circumstances change, so they’re easier to bear.
What is actually better? To have nothing ever come against us? Or to be able to walk in the midst of things that are coming against us and still have joy and peace and still know God’s leading and enjoy His presence?
Is it better if the fiery circumstances are quenched? Or is it better if we can walk through our fires without being burned?
A part of us wants to jump up and say, “I want the fires to just go away. The heat is too much.” And often our prayers reflect that. We pray, “God, please make my company start treating their employees better. God, please stop those who are lying about me. God, please-oh-please make the gas and food prices stop going up.”
And quite often those prayers aren’t answered.
Maybe those prayers aren’t in line with what God desires.
What if God’s desire is to teach us how to walk so closely with Him that even in the midst of terrible circumstances, our peace and joy is not disturbed because it is based on Him instead of being based on our circumstances?
What if this transformation is necessary for the End Time church?
Is the scriptural?
Actually, it is!
Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles, but fear not, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In other words, “Fear not, if you abide in Me, then the trouble in your life has no power over you.”
1 Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, as though something strange were happening to you; it comes upon you for your testing. 13 Instead, to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed.”
In school, a test is meant to reveal the level that we can excel at. Despite what kids think, they aren’t simply given to torment them. Yet aren’t our prayers often, “God, please make this test go away”?
What if instead we prayed, “God help me to excel at this test!” This is what Paul did! He was in prison, and he did not ask people to pray for freedom. This is what he asked them to pray in Colossians 4:2–4: “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
Maybe your circumstances are weighing on you, and you’re struggling with depression because of it. You could pray that the circumstances will change. Or you can pray that God would reveal Himself to you in such a way that the situation no longer weighs you down. Pray that you would be able to live free of depression even if the circumstance does not change.
Maybe you are facing a financial challenge that looks insurmountable, and it’s keeping you awake at night and troubling your peace all day long. You could pray that God would just provide the money so you’d have nothing to worry about. Or you could thank God that He has already promised to provide and ask Him to show you how to rest in that promise. Pray that He would teach You how to stand against the voices that are whispering “what if?” all day long and how to draw so close to Him that the glory of His presence would leave no room for fear and worry.
One prayer is focused on the problem. The others are focused on the One who is the Answer and the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Church, let’s rise to the challenge and allow Him to align our desires and our prayers with His heart. Let’s allow Him to make us into the spiritual warriors that He needs to accomplish His purposes in our homes and communities.
Lord, we want to become the church that Jesus prophesied about – the church that He said the Gates of Hell could not stand against. Open our eyes to see any areas of our lives and thought patterns and even our prayers that are not in line with what You want to do in the earth. Increase our faith in every difficult circumstance to know that Your provision will always be enough, not only for our circumstances, but also for our minds and our emotions and our hearts. Make Your glory known in us and through us. We ask this in the all-powerful name of Jesus, Amen!
Romans 5:2 “…we celebrate in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.”