Praying For God’s Will
I live in the south. The south is hot. I hate the heat. I mean, I really hate it.
While most of the people I know are running outside in their shorts and flip flops to celebrate, I’m inside trying to find a bucket of ice to immerse myself in.
About a month ago I was trying to get some work done in the house, but the air conditioner was barely keeping up with the ninety-five plus degree weather, and it was almost too hot to even move, never mind doing housework.
Then I heard thunder. It was most wonderful sound I had heard all day.
Please Lord, let rain, I prayed. I mean, I really prayed. Not wished. Not hoped. I didn’t send positive thoughts. I prayed for rain.
Please send the rain to cool the house off so I can get some work done without
dying of heat stroke fainting too much discomfort.
And then I walked out on our back porch and looked over into the neighbor’s yard. They had just had a new cement patio poured. The cement truck had probably only left an hour before.
I didn’t ask them, but I’m betting they were praying just as hard that it wouldn’t rain.
That story probably seems pretty trivial, but it plays out in not so trivial ways every day.
Rival sports teams both pray to come out on top. One commuter prays the plane will leave on time so they can make it to their interview, while another is praying for a late departure because they were caught in traffic. Opposite sides in a war both pray for victory. A patient needing a transplant prays for a new heart, while a family prays that their loved one won’t become a donor.
If God answers one person’s prayers and not another’s, does that mean He loves that person more than the other? Does He care more for one than the other? Is He angry at one of them?
Of course the answer to those questions is, no.
What does it mean then? How do we answer this problem? Is it even a problem?
Maybe the answer lies not in what answer God gives to our prayers, but how we prayed in the first place.
When Christ gave us his model prayer, one of the first things he prayed for was God’s will to be done.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.(Matthew 6:9-10)
When He prayed in the garden the night before he was crucified, Christ prayed intensely that he be spared. He prayed so intensely that His sweat turned to blood. Have you ever prayed that intensely? I know I haven’t.
Jesus was just as much man as He was God. He didn’t want to endure all that He was about to endure. So He prayed that The Father would remove that bitter cup from Him. But then He said not my will, but thine be done.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)
What if instead of trying to convince God to give us what we want, we surrendered our will to Him, and let Him change what we desire?
It can be hard, I know. Trust me, I know. It can feel like your heart is being torn from you body, when you say “Lord just do your will,” and to accept that God’s will may be the exact opposite of yours.
But He wants us to trust Him, and to trust that He knows what’s best for us. He knows better than we do what we need, and what will help mold us into a picture of Christ.
Part of that picture is the setting aside of our own plans, and desires, and letting Him fill us with the desire for our will to be aligned with His.
A side note: it never really rained that day, but it did cloud over and we got a few sprinkles. Just enough to cool the house off so I could get my work done without
passing out too much discomfort, but not enough to wash away the neighbor’s patio.