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Location: Para, Brazil

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting What We Pray For

A mother sent her fifth grade boy up to bed. In a few minutes she went to make sure that he was getting in bed. When she stuck her head into his room, she saw that he was kneeling beside his bed in prayer. Pausing to listen to his prayers, she heard her son praying over and over again. "Let it be Tokyo! Please dear God, let it be Tokyo!"

When he finished his prayers, she asked him, "What did you mean, 'Let it be Tokyo'?"

"Oh," the boy said with embarrassment, "we had our geography exam today and I was praying that God would make Tokyo the capital of France."

Prayer is not a magical means by which we get God to do what we want. While God desires that we brings our petitions to Him, He has not promised to give us everything that our heart desires. In fact, if an earthly father were to do that to a child ("Oh, you want to touch the hot stove? Go ahead!"), we would consider that father guilty of child abuse. We realize that a godly father sorts through the needs and the wants of his child and ultimately decides to give his child what is in his best interest and what will bring that child the most happiness in the long run.

William Temple was right when he said, ""We do not pray in order to change his will, but to bring our own wills into harmony with his." As we make our requests to God, we remain open to the idea that God may have something better in mind for us. His purpose may be fulfilled in our lives in a way we cannot even imagine. So, if we pray we ought, we come away feeling blessed, knowing that God has received our petition, but confident as well knowing that if God knows a better path for our lives, He will lead us in that direction.

"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and he knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:41-42)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith