“…because I believe God’s plans for me are better than what I could plan for myself, rather than run away from the path he has set before me, I want to run toward it.” Spoken by Nancy Guthrie in her book Holding Onto Hope, where she talks about her faith in the light of losing not one but two children at the age of 6 months. After losing her daughter Hope, Nancy and her husband decided to permanently prevent further pregnancies because of the high chance any child would have of carrying the same disease. Can you imagine the day Nancy found out she was pregnant again? Can you imagine the day she found out that yes, her son Gabriel would carry the same fate as Hope did? Even further can you believe she still spoke these words, “‘God , would you please accomplish your will? Would you give me a willing heart to embrace your plan and your purpose? Would you mold me into a vessel that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind?’ And then, perhaps, we could add a tiny P.S. that says, ‘If that includes healing, we will be grateful.'”
This is what a faith-filled, God centered prayer looks like. Prayers that look for a greater purpose in life, that contain a striving towards God’s greater plan, and an acknowledgement that what we really need is a willing heart to embrace God’s purpose for our lives. And I know, for me, my prayers used to look nothing like this. I spent most of the little prayer time that I had in the form of pleading lists. Please Lord would you bless me with this? Please Lord would you prevent this? Please Lord would you provide for me, my children, my husband in this? Please Lord would you bless me with a healthy child? Please Lord would you heal my child?
I tell you the truth, something happens inside of you when you have specifically, deeply, and expectantly prayed for something that does not happen. It causes you to ask questions about what you are praying and who you are praying to. It causes you to wonder at the effectiveness of the prayer or the effectiveness of the listener. For me, there was no doubt where I stood. I still believed that yes God heard my prayers, that yes God is good, but that yes…God calls us to pray according to His will and not my own. There is no doubt that I wanted a healthy child and that that desire was from a deep seeded place of love. But there is also no doubt that Gideon is dancing gleefully in the arms of His Heavenly Father, that I will be with him again someday, and that his life (in the grand scheme of things) is no longer or shorter than my own. Not to mention the people Gideon touched in his short life is more than I can hope to touch in my entire life. Yes something happened to my prayer life when my prayers were not answered. I realized there is something greater than my fear filled pleas.
Jesus’s prayer before He went to the cross runs over and over again in my mind. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38.
Yet…not as I will, but as you will.
Not as I will, but as YOU will.
Not as I will…but…as…you…you…you…YOU
Its a submission and its a claim over my life and the lives of those whom I love. Its a submission that even though my brain has determined what I deem to be good, that maybe just maybe there is more. It is a claim that I pray every day to remind myself and my family that we desire in all things and at all times, His will. I have to pray it every single day because, if I don’t, the fear prayers creep back in. Not at all to say that praying for healing, and blessing, and provision, and help are bad. They are not at all bad. But in my short amount of time per day that I take in the quiet to spend time with God, I want to get the most bang for my buck and I know that He already knows what I want. I need to make it count, and after going through tragedy, loss, pain, and grief I want to pray for what will last…
Lord I pray you would help me be strong for the tasks that today holds, that I would honor you with my responsibilities, my relationships, and my tasks.
Lord I pray that today you would give me the opportunity to bring honor to you.
Lord I pray that your Holy Spirit would guide me through, my children and husband too. That when life’s challenges come in this day that your presence would be comforting.
Lord I pray that you would prepare me for the road ahead. That you would build up in me characteristics of self-control, kindness, peace, love, joy so that I would be ready in season and out of season for whatever may come.
Lord I pray that this day would hold moments of joy, and that in that joy we would thank you.
And Lord, would you use me in this day? Would you use me to bring smiles in the lives of my children? Would you use me to show others how amazing you are? Would you use me to help those who need helping?
Lord, if it is possible I pray today is a good day. A health filled one, a protected one.
But not my will, but your will. Amen.
On a final note, if lists of prayer requests have a perfect place I believe it is in our prayers for other people. I often pray for healing, blessing, comfort, peace, and provision in the lives of others. And so I will gift others with my petitions because I know many people have blessed us with theirs. When I couldn’t pray for a miracle for Gideon, I knew other people would be and it ministered deeply to my family. When I only had the words to pray for the strength to make it past the next minute, I know others were lifting up my children and my husband. Thank you for praying and may I too be able to bless you with the power of prayer.