What do you desire? What do you seek? More importantly, what are you praying for? Throughout the past week or so, I’ve not been able to get the quote out of my head that says something along the lines of, “If God were to grant you exactly what you’re praying for, would it change the world or just yours?” I’m not sure who wrote it, but I’ve seen it numerous times on my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, and it just sticks every time. It always makes me sit back and think. I love the ones that do that.
But really, if you were to get exactly what you prayed for right this second, what would change? I’m brought back to the psalms when I think about this because of how real and raw they are. The psalms make incredible prayers, just in case you’re needing practical ways to make your prayer life more abundant.
I think about David, who penned a majority of the psalms, and how he suffered. Many of his prayers in the psalms were laments to his suffering. But still, he praises. But still, he believes in the goodness of God. His suffering grew him closer to God.
When I hear this quote, I think back to how often I pray away my suffering. Lord, heal this. Lord, bring about this change so that we will no longer be in pain. But in a recent conversation during a Bible study with friends, we talked about how much different things would be if we said, “Lord, I want this suffering to end, but I also want you to teach me in this suffering. Lord, show me how this suffering will glorify You. What am I to take away from this?
This kind of prayer makes me think of the prayer in the Bible that always makes me so emotional. And that is a prayer from Jesus Himself. Before He went to be crucified on the cross, He asked for His suffering to be taken from Him. His suffering was painful and difficult. But it’s what comes after that is so awe-inspiring and comforting.
Luke 22:41-42 say, “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’” And then listen to what comes next: verse 43 says, “Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.”
Sometimes our suffering doesn’t get taken away from us. But God is so faithful, and He uses it for our good (as Romans 8:28 promises us) even if we can’t see the good in it.
Remember who God is today in the difficulties. Remember who He is in the suffering. Remember who He is in the bad and in the good.
Pray for Him to grow you and teach you in whatever circumstance you might find yourself in. But most importantly, allow that circumstance to draw you closer to Him, not further away.