You see, when a difficult situation has come, when the things of life seem too much to bear... I pray. Believe me I pray. But I have started to examine what I pray.
I pray for things to be resolved. I pray for situations to change. I pray for difficulties to be removed.
When I look even deeper into the motives of my heart... I am really praying for comfort. I am really praying for ease. I am really praying for things that make it about me.
Recently my theology turned upside down as I began to consider that perhaps, those situations come into my life... because I prayed for them.
I pray to be more and more like Christ. What if those situations are really allowed to enter my sphere, because something in them (or many things in them) are designed to make me more like Christ? To learn to share with Him in His suffering.
It's almost as if I pray, "Lord, make me more like You." And then the difficult situation comes that was intended to do that and I find myself praying, "Lord, take this situation away."
How silly of me.
I have been reading back through the book of Acts. I am seeing more clearly than ever before how the believers of that day prayed.
Acts 4:29 (NLT) "And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word."
In the midst of threats, trials, difficulties and persecution... they didn't pray for those things to be removed.
Instead, they prayed for strength to endure. They prayed for boldness to continue the very deeds that put them in those situations in the first place. They prayed for each other. They prayed for God's Kingdom work to continue to advance. They rejoiced and counted it a privilege to be a part. Yes, in all of these things... even unto death.
I am finding that my prayer life is evolving into something new. Something different.
Not that I don't pray for God to work His will in each and every situation, especially the most difficult ones. But what if those are His will for me... to help to make me more like Him?
So I find myself praying more and more instead for things such as strength, boldness, perseverance, discernment, love for God and others, a grateful heart, wisdom, and a willingness to learn what He has in mind for me in each situation.
And praying, "How can I become more like Christ in this? What can I learn that teaches me more of His character, His very nature... Him?"
Have you considered recently how you pray?
Lord, teach us to pray...