“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13
Spoken by Jesus as He teaches how to pray and what to pray. I want to focus on verse 10 as it talks about praying that God’s will be done. This essentially means that we give up on plans and desires and fully trust in His plan. This reminds me of the way Jesus spoke in John 5:30, “I can do nothing on my own. I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
I remember hearing this and it drastically changed the way I prayed. Prior to that, I would simply ask God to do things as if He was some fairy who granted me a gazillion wishes. I would jump into bed with my list filled with wishes and began praying “God, please help me find the key that I lost”, “God, please help me ace this test”, “God, I really like this guy and I just want him to like me back”, “God, help me get into this college”, and we could be here for a very long time if I refuse to stop now. We do not need to get legalistic about prayer as I believe we are allowed to pray for anything that we want, with the understanding that God sometimes says “No.” Sometimes the answer to the things is pray are “Yes”, sometimes it can be “Maybe, just wait” and other times God says “No.”
My prayers began to shift, not because I grew in wisdom as I so wish I could proclaim, but rather, I started to experience the opposite of what I prayed for. God was saying “No” far too often in my eyes. Now I do not want you to be mistaken and think that God was doing the opposite as some form of punishment, but I was experiencing the opposite simply because it just was not under God’s will. Sometimes it’s “yes,” sometimes it’s “maybe,” and sometimes it’s “no.”
You’ve been here for the journey and you saw how brutal the transition to college was. You were here when I thought I was going to fail physics. You were here when I thought I was going to change universities. You were here for it all and each part was significant in how it all played out. I could not begin to imagine a different story. I firmly believe I would be a different person if these hardships and God’s timing were presented in any other way. When things started to go in the direction I did not expect, I began praying for God’s will. I realized maybe this is where God wanted me and I’m going to have to get over the fact that in this world I will experience suffering and trials even if I do not know the answer as to why. I remember the first time I prayed over God’s will and documented it.
Now the takeaway shouldn’t be to forget these desires and never pray for anything you want because you would be missing the point. I do believe that God places desires in our hearts, though that does not mean we are to fulfill them in ways we want them fulfilled. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” as Jeremiah 17:9 puts it. So we must be wise and test these desires to fulfill them in a way that honors God, and one way that I do this is by constantly praying for these desires. “God, please consider the desires of my heart.” The more I researched the will of God, the more I understood, and the more I desperately yearned for it. As a result, my prayers shifted. “God, please consider the desires of my heart, but more importantly and above everything, I want Your will. God, I want Your will above anything, even when my heart disagrees.”
There’s a peace that comes with praying over God’s will even when I’ve suffered tremendously and as I suffer from ongoing pain, yeah, that’s right…present-tense. I bring this up now because though I’ve been praying this way for a while, I’ve failed to actually reflect on God’s sovereignty through it all. I’ve failed to recognize that in my joy and in my suffering, God has been with me. Part of the beauty within this blog is being able to see how His grace and love chased me even when I failed my final, even when I was rejected from the College of Engineering numerous times, and even when I dealt with massive platonic and romantic heartbreak. God was with me as I grew in my faith, found a future husband, and graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Washington. Now, I’m not saying that God has these great promises for health, wealth, and a life without trouble. We both know that’s not true, regardless if you believe in God or not. But what I am saying is from what I’ve experienced, I’ve dealt with more peace praying over God’s will rather than only praying for what I want, even and especially when it hurts.
My Christian friends, have you ever questioned if you’re walking in accordance with God’s will? To get more specific, have you ever wondered if this is the college God wants you at or if this is the job God wants you to take? To earnestly and honestly pray for God’s will above anything else helps me relax in Him rather than go about and question every single motive and decision. Regardless of what happens, I know that I am where God wants me even in the trials and tribulations.
I haven’t been public about this so between you and me I start work soon as a Mechanical Research Engineer at the VA Hospital within the next couple of weeks. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am still hesitant about this engineering degree as my passions seem to more align with sharing the gospel and how Jesus changes everything…or quite possibly doing something in the fitness industry (but don’t tell my mom). Though after reflecting, I see that I am exactly where God wants me. Though I may not be at this new company forever, this has all been a part of God’s will thus far, everything including the messiest pieces to it. I am right where God wants me to be, with this upcoming job, with my education, with this season of engagement, and even with all of the hardships and the nights spent crying. I am where I am supposed to be as I have “recycled” the same prayer over God’s will and as I continue to pray for God’s will.
There is nothing profound within this entry, but I think it is one of those little reminders that I should have more often than I would like to admit. This is just me sharing my reflection of God’s goodness, grace, mercy, love, and sovereignty through the eyes of a 22-year-old college graduate. All glory goes to Jesus alone.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:18-30
Read verse 8:28 again, and man, if you feel convicted, give your life to Jesus and be welcomed with open arms. Truly I tell you, Jesus absolutely changes everything.