How often do you pray?
Once a day? Several times a day? Only when you want or need something?
Praying is something that is very personal to all of us. For many of us, it’s the only time we are ever truly ourselves in front of someone else. There are no secrets, whether we want to admit it or not. God sees all of us. Even the parts we don’t share in prayer. But when we come to Him, we bring it all.
So, if you’re being honest with yourself you know that a catalyst for prayer is need. We all pray when we need or want something–the lines are often blurred between want and need. Whether you have a really healthy prayer life and talk to God on the regular, or you don’t know where to start with prayer, I bet you know how to run to Him in a second when something is pulling on your heart.
I’ll be honest with you–like, really honest. Once upon a time, I was interested in a guy. This was rare for me because college dating was just not a skill I was blessed with. We had spent a little time together, but I knew that I could like him as more than a pal. I’d started this thing long ago where I prayed for something I didn’t want. I prayed for the relationship as a whole to end if this was not God’s plan for my life.
How often do you pray for something you don’t want? I’ve done this a few times in my life, and it’s the hardest prayer there is out there because I fear that it’s a prayer God will answer. Prayers I don’t want to pray are ones that go against my flesh.
Normally, when any of us Christian gals are interested in a guy, we pray that the relationship grow and flourish into a dating relationship that has the potential to be a marriage relationship. Not this girl. I pray that if the relationship is not going to produce a dating-with-the-potential-of-marriage, that God would end the relationship. That’s not a prayer that gets me excited, as you can imagine.
So, why do I do it? Because God’s gifts in my life are better than what I want. Once when I prayed this prayer, God answered it. Surprisingly, I was so thankful He did. I wasn’t near as sad about the end of the road as I thought. I was happy, because He heard me when I denied my fleshly desire for what He wants for me. Even if I really didn’t want to.
I know that God is good. I know that He has good things in store for me. I know that I don’t know everything. I know that my flesh is controlling despite not knowing everything. So, I figured that the God of the universe is the one who I will to trust with things I really want. Plus, it saves heartbreak.
Praying hard prayers makes you lean on God more than you lean on yourself. It’s a total act of control–laying your heart and desires out to the Lord, but saying, “Lord if this is not Your will, take it from me so that you can bless me in this area at the proper time,” (Psalm 145:15). It reminds me of what Abraham had to do when God asked him to sacrifice the son he had waited years and years for. He denied his own flesh and blood because we serve a good God who is wiser than we could ever hope to be.
Now, I am no Abraham, and the death of a person you love and an infant relationship are two totally different things, but I think the mentality is the same. Sometimes God does things that are counterintuitive and go against our flesh, but He hasn’t called us to trust our flesh. He has called us to deny ourselves and follow Him.
Next time you come across something you really, really want and don’t know where God is taking you, ask Him to show you. Do something that takes a lot of faith and ask Him to take it from you if it is His will. Though it is hard in the moment, it will bring great joy or save heartache or show you that God hears you and loves you.
One of these days, maybe God won’t take a boy out of my life despite my best efforts in prayer. Maybe all the hard, answered prayers will be worth the one unanswered. Who knows if that day will ever come? I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I know that God is good and this is His best for me.
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'” C.S. Lewis
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.