Prayer or Wish List?
I received an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer 10 days ago and began praying for peace, comfort, wisdom, and healing. My network of family and friends were also enlisted to bombard our heavenly Father with these requests. The sense of peace and comfort to the very core of my being was immediate. The comfort continued as I opened myself up to fellow Christ-followers who were on hand to give an encouraging word or a hug. I do not feel the wisdom for the decisions to be made but I am confident that it is being provided as I move through this experience and at the exact time that I really need it. I believe I will become more and more aware of the path I am to take as I continue to seek the direction of the Father through the Holy Spirit that communes with my spirit. Healing has not yet occurred. I praise the Lord for the good news I received from the doctor a few days later in which she said “if you have to have cancer, this is a good one to have”. But, what about the times when I, or another, is not so pleased with the response to a prayer. Or, I don’t even feel an answer has been given? I think we have to keep in mind that our situation in this life is not based on what we feel but what we know! We are reminded in numerous places in the Bible to seek our Lord first and supremely. Then, let everything else fall into place as we walk with Him.
I share these thoughts because I think many of us struggle with the outcome of our prayers. We pray for what we want at any given time and are sincere in our attempts to leave them to the care of God. Unfortunately, it seems that we often view our list of prayers as an order to be submitted for immediate fulfillment in the exact way and time requested. But I can think of times in which a person in Biblical history was willing to submit the request but surrender the results. For example, we may be very familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into a fiery furnace because of their refusal to worship an image of gold even when commanded by the king to do so. They testified to their belief that the one true God had the ability to save them from certain death. For me, the really amazing part is that they confidently told the king that “even if he does not, we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Wow! They remained faithful to God and asked for His deliverance but left the outcome in His hands according to His will for His purposes. Then, we have the example of the Apostle Paul who wrote much of the New Testament. He writes to the Corinthians that he “pleaded” to God for a “thorn in his flesh” to be removed. However, that prayer was never answered! Paul says that the Lord’s reply to him was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He goes on to write that he, therefore, welcomes ALL forms of difficulty in his life because he understands that it is during those times of weakness that God’s strength shines through. Finally, we have the example of Jesus praying in the garden just before he is betrayed, arrested, and crucified. His plea to His Father was for a different way…another method of redemption for the sinful children. But, a gruesome death upon a cross was the will of the Father and Jesus surrendered himself completely for that purpose.
I have NO doubt in God’s ability to fulfill absolutely any request I could possibly bring to Him. The real question is if I can leave the outcome to the will of Almighty God…and trust that will! Am I willing to submit the request but surrender the results?