praying away or praying through?

Currently I am going through the book Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson.  Day 4 – Don’t Pray Away has been an extremely convicting and enlightening chapter for me … one I keep going back to.

The chapter verse is from John 9:3, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  This was the response of Jesus to the disciples’ question about whose sin caused the man to be blind from birth…

Let me share a number of statements from the Day 4 chapter that have really struck a nerve with me …

“Sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them.”

“There is a big difference between praying away and praying through.”

“We’re often so anxious to get out of difficult, painful, or challenging situations that we fail to grow through them.  We’re so fixated on getting out of them that we don’t get anything out of them.  We fail to learn the lessons God is trying to teach us or cultivate the character God is trying to grow in us.  We’re so focused on God changing our circumstances that we never allow God to change us.”

“Sometimes we need to pray ‘get me out’ prayers.  But sometime we need to pray ‘get me through’ prayers.  And we need the discernment to know when to pray what.”

“If we’re completely honest, most of our prayers have as their chief objective our own personal comfort, rather than God’s glory.”

BW … let me interject a thought here about discernment and my prayers.  From the time I was first diagnosed with metastatic stage IV colon cancer two years ago, my conviction has been to pray through not pray away my circumstances.  That doesn’t mean that every time I get a CT scan I am not hoping it will reveal a miraculous healing … but that is not how I have been convicted to pray … up to this point.  I have no doubt, Lord willing, that prayer could change down the road … but it hasn’t yet.  At the same time, many loved ones feel convicted to pray for complete healing … I do not doubt their conviction and perhaps God has given them an insight into His will, plan and purpose that I have yet to catch a glimpse of.  Just a few thoughts on my prayers and the prayers of loved ones … here are a few closing thoughts from the conclusion of the Day 4 chapter.

“The primary purpose of prayer is not to change circumstances; the primary purpose of prayer is to change us!  But either way, the chief objective remains the same: to glorify God in any and every situation.”

“Sometimes God delivers us from our problems; sometimes God delivers us through our problems.”

The same day I was reading the above, I came across these applicable passages from the Ravi Zacharias book, The Grand Weaver:  How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives.  Believe I might be in the midst of a little teaching from God through the Holy Spirit …

“Many troubles come to us in order to test our faith – to reveal whether it is genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7).  God wants to use other problems to help us mature in our walk with Christ (Hebrews 12:11).  Some difficulties arise because we make poor or unwise choices (1 Corinthians 11:30-32).  And hardships often blow into our lives simply because we live in a fallen world (Luke 13:1-5).”

“But here’s the key: God wants to use all of these problems, wherever they come from and whatever their nature, to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He wants to take the tragedies and ecstasies of your life, as well as the disappointments and the great pleasures, and weave them all into a breathtaking tapestry that showcases His glory, love, power and wisdom.”

Oh Lord, weave your tapestry according to your will, plan and purpose!

May my personal prayers also be according to your will, plan and purpose!

I’m praying through Lord … I’m praying through!

Bernie

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About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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