For this week’s Worship Wednesday, Liz shares how God transformed her prayer life from asking for her desires to an act of worship.
How God Transformed My Prayer Life
My husband was up for promotion in a year when the promotion rate was dismal. Though I know him to be steadfast, loyal, and hardworking, he was concerned his performance wasn’t stellar enough to make the next rank when pitted against such fierce competition. Even though I knew with every fiber of my being he deserved this accolade, his concern worried me. My desire to see him recognized by reaching the next rank drove me to my knees.
There on the worn carpet of our on-base duplex, I poured out my heart to God while we waited for the results. Day after day I pleaded with God on my husband’s behalf. But gradually God revealed the root of my request. The military life was all I had known since leaving home at 17 and the unknown terrified me. Military culture lauds performance and achievement and I worried what people would think of me, if my husband didn’t pin on that next rank. Even though I was praying for my husband, I was really asking God to act in accordance with my own personal plans for our life.
The truth is, all too often my selfish desires drive my prayers.
Those desires generally seem good on the surface. Satan knows it is far easier to lure us away by things that seem good than it would be to get us to pray for things that seem bad. But when I dig deeper I realize fear, pride, short-sightedness, or even a lack of faith in God to provide for my needs is at the root of those requests.
God transformed my prayer life with the revelation of this sad truth.
Instead of praying for my wants, I began to pray for His will.
It is normal to want to see good things happen to those we love, but it takes faith beyond our feelings to acknowledge we aren’t qualified to determine what is truly good. Only God has the wisdom to know that. God knows what we deserve and he sent his only Son, Jesus, to the cross so we would never have to endure it. Instead, he gives us what only Jesus deserves—eternal life. He alone has the power to do the impossible. Only he can take our messes and turn them into beautiful masterpieces. His love is perfect and his will is unstoppable, even when we don’t understand his ways. So why would I ever pray for anything less?
That’s not to say we shouldn’t make our requests known to him.
On the contrary, the Bible encourages us to approach him with boldness in our prayers. But Jesus teaches us how to do this with open hands.
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.
Remove this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus pleaded with the Father for another way to accomplish salvation for mankind but then surrendered his request to the Father’s will. And immediately, the Father sent angels to strengthen him as he continued to pray and prepare for what was to come. When we surrender our wants to the Father’s will, he strengthens us, too. Sometimes that is the strength to keep praying and other times it is the strength to do as he wills.
What has you hitting your knees today?
Maybe it’s that next promotion for yourself or your service member. It could be the safe return from deployment or orders to the duty station of your dreams. Or it might be the return of a prodigal child or healing from a difficult diagnosis for you or a loved one. Perhaps you are seeking employment opportunities for when you leave the service or the salvation of a friend.
No matter what we’re praying for we can surrender our desires to his design, knowing his wisdom and power far surpass all we can comprehend.
We can exchange our wants for his will, trusting his love for us and our loved ones is perfect.
And we can pray our prayers in accordance with his plans, believing he makes all things work out for our eternal good.
When I pray for my will to be done, I make an idol of my request by placing a higher value on what I want than on what God wants for me. But when I pray “Thy will be done”, my prayer becomes a sacred act of worship as I humble my heart before God’s omnipotence, sacrifice my selfish desires, and honor his wisdom in all things.
For a beautiful encouragement to turn your prayer into an act of worship, listen to Thy Will by Hilary Scott & The Scott Family.