Do our prayers mostly reflect requests for God to make our lives easier? If we think about the last 10 things we prayed about, were they requests for protection, safety, our needs, and generally, that God take away our problems? I confess, my prayers tend to be this way. I pray for a way out instead of the strength to make it through; and comfort instead of character. Yet, I expect God to somehow make me strong and give me opportunities. Although there is nothing wrong with praying for these things, do make it our primary prayer is self-defeating! What?
Spud Webb, the shortest man in NBA history to win the slam dunk contest, was raised in poverty and was told he was too short to play in junior high school. Yet his very first game, he scored 20 points! By the time he grew to a whopping 5’3” he could dunk! When major colleges snubbed him, he led his junior college to a national championship, and then followed that up by an impressive 13–year career in the NBA. Did he attain these accomplishments by praying for an easier life? No, he didn’t avoid the pain—he worked through it and it developed his gift. So, how can we possibly realize our potential by praying for the easy way in life? At 5’7”, Spud must have hurt emotionally and physically, as he practiced and sweated in the gym in the face of the nay-saying coaches and towering teammates! But he didn’t develop his 42“ vertical or the reverse two-handed “strawberry jam” by avoiding pain!
He overcame the obstacles of poverty, height, and critics, and did the impossible.
When it comes to prayer, we need to apply this attitude! Instead of just praying to escape adversity, we can ask God to use it as an opportunity to glorify Him. It may be what we need to attain the destiny God has for us. Think about how many lions and bears David practiced on before he had his sling-shot victory over Goliath. David had practiced being fearless and He KNEW the power of God because He’d experienced it; thus, as he faced Goliath he could say with boldness: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46) Could he have been so bold if he’d never had any experience in adversity? Such boldness came from experiencing God THROUGH adversity—-not from praying for God to take it away.
When the lions of adversity are in our path, we need to pray for the strength to conquer for God’s glory. If we pray for God to take away every obstacle, we’ll never know the amazing adventures and victories of adversity! If you want to live like nothing is impossible with God, pray for God to give you the opportunity!
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