By Alvin VanderGriend
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 that, “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!
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect pray-ers. He does not expect us to know what is best in every situation and to always pray in that vein. He understands our limitations. He accepts our prayers, even if they are off target, because He accepts us as His dear children.
We can be sure that God, even if He doesn’t give what we ask, will provide the grace to deal with what He allows in our lives and in the lives of those we pray for. Paul learned that when he prayed for the removal of a thorn in the flesh. God didn’t remove the thorn as Paul asked, but God didn’t say “no” either. He simply said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The same thing may be true when we pray for others. God may not actually say “no.” He just says, “My grace is sufficient. I will give them the strength to deal with that situation.” And the truth is, God’s all-sufficient grace is the best answer, even better than the relief that we may be asking for. If we keep that in mind we will always be able to joyfully accept God’s answer even if it isn’t what we asked. We will see in His answers that, His “power is made perfect in weakness.”
Our intercessory prayers are important to God. Even when we don’t know His will in a specific situation, and can’t be sure of the outcome, He is pleased with our prayers. Our prayers demonstrate our dependence on Him. They confirm the trust/love relationship we have with Him. They give evidence of our love for the ones for whom we intercede. And, they become the means by which God’s all-sufficient grace is released in their lives. That’s reason enough to pray fervently and persistently, even when we have to leave the choice to Him.
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