Ever sit around in church, small group or Bible Study and when prayer time comes around all the troublesome trials are brought to the forefront?
If your experience is like mine, most of the requests are centered on asking the Lord to make the problem go away or get solved quickly.
Yet, James 1:2-5 says,
“Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Well now… those are different prayer requests aren’t they?
- Lord please give me endurance as I go through this trial.
- Help me find joy, knowing you are building my character and inner man throughout this passage of pain.
- Help my faith believe that you have my best interests at heart… to build me… not tear me down… even thought it feels like it at times.
- What aspect of my character are you seeking to build within me so that I would be more perfect and complete… lacking in nothing?
- Help me see your purposefulness throughout this difficult problem.
- As this tribulation goes on and on, please give me wisdom to know the next right thing so that I may behave in a way that would reflect your character and will for my life.
- Thank you that you will answer my prayer for wisdom, as you promise to supply wise thoughts without ridiculing me or criticizing me … even though I’ve asked hundreds of times before.
Somehow, these prayers seem different than the ones I typically have heard over the last thirty eight years in church circles.
From this passage it seems that fervent aggressive prayer needs to be more about my emotional, relational, and spiritual growth rather than praying for another person to change or for the problem to just go away.
Since Jesus said, “In this world you will have many tribulations”, perhaps instead of the avoidance of trials being my focus, it should rather be what does God wish to strengthen within me as I go through the inevitable difficulties this life brings?
Milan & Kay