Sometimes I think about getting to heaven. Do you ever pray for your friends and family to know Christ better? Do you pray for them to get to heaven? We can pray for all sorts of things: our health, things we want, happiness. But do we ever pray for God’s will to be done, not our own, no matter what the cost? We all try to avoid pain and suffering, don’t we? But what if, in the process, we miss the blessing God has for us and our loved ones? Don’t miss the blessing.
What if the only way our friends and family will ever get to know Jesus is through our suffering, our example? Would you still pray for healing? What if you get really sick and after you die, your spouse finally turns to Christ for help and comfort? Would you still pray for healing for yourself, if you knew the outcome? There’s no way we can know the outcome, but maybe this can help us understand suffering or why some prayers go unanswered.
I’ve heard it said that there is blessing in our sufferings. Isn’t it usually in our suffering that we turn to God for help?
As I’ve matured in my faith, I’ve learned to pray for God’s will, not my own, because I want whatever God wants. I don’t want to miss His blessing for me or my loved ones. Looking back over my life, I’ve learned that when things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, it was because God had something better that I knew nothing about!
We pray for God’s will to be done, not our own because ultimately, God knows what He is doing. That’s ultimate surrender, living in God’s will. –Total reliance on Him to take care of our every need. That’s very hard to do but it is exactly why He’s given us His prayer.
The ‘Our Father’ Prayer
Yesterday was the feast day of St. Matthew, the apostle and so is it a coincidence that I’ve been working on this article for the past week and the prayer is from the book of Matthew? I’m always on the lookout for “God-instances”, as I like to call them. I’ve had quite a few, but that’s another story.
Jesus tells us exactly how to pray in the book of Matthew. You can see it for yourself. Pull out your Bible, if you want. For the full teaching about prayer, start with Matthew 6:5-8. Then, read the prayer itself:
"This is how you are to pray, 'Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' --Matthew 6:9-13
It’s all laid out for us so clearly. He gives, we receive. His will. Daily food. Forgiveness. Avoid temptations. Be delivered from evil. So simple and yet somehow we totally complicate our lives asking for all the other stuff. We need to rely on God for everything, even our daily food (which for Catholics could mean going to Mass every day, since He IS the Bread of Life).
Applying It to Life
So what do we do with all this information? We apply it to our lives by acting on it. We schedule prayer in our day, every day. Start with this prayer. Pick a time. It could be the same time every day. When you make it a habit, then it becomes part of who you are.
I’ve been doing this awhile and it’s nothing for me to spend 2 hours in the morning in prayer, reflection and journaling. There is a peace and a joy that comes when you surrender the first part of your day and life to Christ. Oh, I’m not perfect, I still worry about things. I still ask for healing for people I know and love, but ultimately, I know that God loves us all and has the best plan for our lives, even in our sufferings. I am getting better at seeking His will and not my own. That’s what it’s all about, friends. Getting better, closer to God, one day at a time.
I hope this has encouraged you. Please share it with your friends and family. Leave a comment or question below. Sign up to get these blogs delivered right to your inbox.