It’s an idea I’ve been pondering for the past few days: be very careful what you pray for, because God just might answer your prayers… and then ask you to do something about it.
Per my life situation, I spend a lot of time praying for “strength” for my husband and I. The problem is, I think that God’s giving it to me. Sounds great, right? Except for the part where now, I have lots of difficult (read: sometimes annoying) “opportunities” (read: challenges and frustrations) where I have the opportunity to use my brand new God-given strength.
You see, part of me expected that if I prayed for strength, God would give it to me by making my situations easier, so my current levels of strength would be sufficient. But no, God decides to make me strong enough to handle my life, and to give me other chances to use the newfound strength. He’s kind of funny like that.
Perhaps it’s because my prayer is too generic. Maybe I should just pray for an easier life so I don’t have to suffer. But that belittles the power of suffering, doesn’t it? I want to address the question of suffering in another post (or in several posts), but for now, I’ll just say that no, as much as I’d like it to be that way, it’s a cowardly, un-Christian way to be. Christ – God – suffered, and I do too, in an infinitely smaller way.
I should probably point out that this kind of dangerous / careless praying applies to a lot of prayers. What if I prayed for that guy whose car stalled on the side of the road, asking God to send someone to help him… and I was that person God sent, but I drove away and just prayed a generic prayer instead? What if I prayed for someone to help the homeless guy on the street find shelter… and I was the one God sent to refer him to the nearby homeless shelter, but I walked by and averted my eyes?
Add a million other prayers we say… you can think of situations of your own. Do we really mean these prayers we say, really? Because if we did, shouldn’t it translate to action on our part, instead of leaving the do-gooding to someone else?
What do we do because of our careless praying? Do we ask for more specific things, for something easier? Or do we act on our prayers, trusting that God is giving us the “strength” we need to bring these answers to fulfillment?
What is one way, one prayer God is calling you to take action on today? Are you brave enough to do it?