Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. —Lamentations 3:32–33
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it [a thorn in the flesh] away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. —2 Corinthians 12:8–9
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. —James 5:14–15
Sometimes when we pray we don’t know what God’s will is for the specific situation we are praying about. We don’t know if He will grant our request or not, so we pray and leave the choice to God. Even if we don’t know His will, our prayers are still prayers of faith. By faith we are sure that God hears. By faith we are sure that He cares. By faith we are sure that God will do what is best. But we don’t know what his best is. So we pray with hope. It may well be that most of our prayers are prayers of hopefulness.
It’s okay to pray prayers of hopefulness. God is pleased with them. Prayers of hope are valid prayers, so long as we are not asking for things we know to be contrary to God’s will. James reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). Our hopeful prayers say to God that we look to Him as the great Provider. With such prayers we posture ourselves as His dependent children. God is honored in that!
Jehovah Jireh, teach me to pray with great hope and fill me with faith to believe that You are at work to orchestrate the best circumstances of Your will for my life and for the lives of those whom I love and care about as well as for those I will never meet this side of heaven. Give me a heart of grateful trust in Your goodness and Your mercy, for You love Your people more deeply than my human heart could ever comprehend. Show me how to continually posture myself as a dependent child seeking the heart of my compassionate, all-powerful Father.
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for his abundant mercy. Thank him for not punishing you as your sins have deserved (Ezra 9:13). Confess any secret sins which hold you back from full fellowship with God. Commit yourself to turning away from sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and living completely for God’s glory. Ask God to restore the joy of his salvation and to grant you a willing spirit (Ps. 51:12).
Ask the Lord to create a hunger and thirst for him and his Word in the lives of unsaved persons you know. Pray that you will be sensitive to their struggles and questions.
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