These are fine prayers, and all legitimate, but incomplete. They just don’t go far enough. By asking only for relief, we may miss a surprising blessing.
Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane helps us stretch our prayers past our pain.
Warming Up to Stretch
If you think about it, asking God to bless our circumstances may be praying for Him to change nothing about them. Perhaps He may even allow them to worsen so that true blessing may result. This kind of a mindset stretches our prayer lives further than the here and now.
Jesus had this perspective when He prayed in Gethsemane:
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. —Luke 22:42
Life will hand you what seems like a raw deal. Solutions seem as gnarled as the olive trunks in Gethsemane. And when God’s answer to your prayers seems cruel and anything but good, you will wage no greater battle than the surrender of your will.
At that moment, when God’s goodness seems far away, you stand only inches away from using anger to justify your sin.
But I promise you, surrender lies at the very core of whatever grieves you.