December 28
  Oh, I wish that God had not
given me what I prayed for!
It was not so good as I thought.

Johanna Spyri


Today's Meditation:

I've always had some very strong misconceptions about prayer.  One of my strongest misconceptions was the idea that if a prayer wasn't answered, that was a bad thing.  After all, I know what I want, and if I ask for it then I really do want it, right?  Unfortunately, though, we aren't always the best at figuring out what's best for us, even if we do like to think that what we want at the moment is, indeed, what's best for us.

The reality of our lives, though, is that our wants tend to be fleeting, while our needs are much more consistent.  When we're young, we want that guy or girl with a passion, and we'll pray all night and all day for a date or for a relationship just because that's what we want.  But is that person someone who will complement our own personalities?  Is he or she someone who will be able to share a healthy relationship with us?  Look around at the number of people who are in unhealthy relationships, and it becomes clear that the fact that we get what we want in a relationship doesn't mean that we're getting what we need.

Prayer can be rather simple.  If we pray that we get what is best for us, with the full knowledge that we're not sure what that is, then we can look at our prayer life with much more balance, with far fewer expectations.  If we let go of the expectations that we have once we pray for what we want, then praying for what we need can help to free us to give our best to whatever we're doing as we patiently wait for the prayer to be answered, rather than wasting time trying to force that prayer to be answered. 

Prayer can be a valuable part of our lives if we don't turn it into simply a wish list.  Because sometimes what we wish for can turn into something that harms us greatly if we aren't careful.

Questions to consider:

Have you ever prayed hard for something, only to get it and find out that you didn't really want it?

How often do our wants and our needs correspond directly? 

What does trying to decide by ourselves what's best for us say about our faith?

For further thought:

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because He doesn't answer
doesn't mean that He don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Garth Brooks, Pat Alger and Larry B. Bastian

More on prayer.


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