Three weeks ago, I wrote about prayer instead of sports. Prayer is something I think about a lot these days, in my journey toward the next chapter in my life, so I hope you’ll bear with me. This week I want to sort of “fine-tune” a few things about prayer.
Do you ever feel as if you don’t know what to pray for in a certain situation? Or even how to pray?
Sometimes it’s baffling. We want to pray the way God would have us pray, but it’s not always clear exactly what that means.
Should we pray for what we want, even though what we want might not be what God has in mind for us? Should we only pray for God’s will with no specifics about what we would like to see happen? And even if we do pray, does it really make any difference since God not only already knows what’s on our hearts, but how it’s all going to turn out anyway?
Sometimes even when we turn to God’s Word to try to find the answers to these questions, we can still come away not understanding exactly what we need to do.
Are you praying right now about serious health issues, either for loved ones or for yourself? How do you pray for something like that?
You quite naturally would hope for that person or for you to be fully restored to health and may well have the faith to believe God could do that.
In Philippians 4:6, the apostle Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That’s a wonderful promise. Giving your anxieties over to God and experiencing His peace is a relief. Even in the darkest times, the peace of God surpasses all comprehension. With God, anything is possible. God can do anything within His will.
Here’s the thing we may not want to face: It may not be in God’s will for that health to be restored. It may instead be in God’s will for that person to be called home.
That’s a hard fact to deal with, but Jesus Christ, who underwent every kind of trial we could ever face, dealt with the same thing Himself. On the same night He was betrayed by Judas, Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In Mark 14:34-36, Jesus had just told His disciples His soul was “deeply grieved to the point of death”:
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’ ”
Jesus acknowledges that God can do all things and then asks that He might be spared from having to die the gruesome death He knew was ahead. Then Jesus submits to the Father’s will instead of His own, knowing that God’s will is perfect, even for Him.
It’s the perfect example of how to pray in times of crisis. God, as Paul has stated, wants to hear our requests and wants to give us His peace. Even Jesus went to the Father with His desperate plea, but He received God’s peace by submitting to His will.
A perfect example for imperfect people. We often think we know exactly what God should do, or at least what we would do if we were God. But we’re not God. There is only one God and He is sovereign over us.
Why does God do the things He does? Why does His will sometimes seem wrong to us? We won’t know until we are with Him in heaven. We need to be content in knowing that God is in control of everything, that none of our crises are a surprise to Him, and that even if what we believe to be the absolute worst happens, God is still Ruler over all.
Be anxious for nothing. Pray and let God know what’s on your heart. Then accept the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, knowing it will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.