I have noticed the evolution in my prayer life. It starts with a problem: an emotional hurt, a troubling physical symptom, or fear of the unknown. My first reaction in prayer is to wish the trouble away. “God, please remove this from my life.” Or in other words, I don’t want to deal with this.
When the trouble doesn’t go away, I pray for God to make it a non-issue. “God, please make it not a big deal in my life.” I ask God to take the trouble and make it simply an annoyance. My hope is that it becomes something I can ignore most of the time or even forget temporarily.
When the trouble becomes a big deal in my life, I ask God to use it for my good. “Lord, open my eyes to see the lessons that you have for me.” When I have to deal with an issue, the process in conjunction with the Holy Spirit’s guidance more clearly defines my faith and refines my witness. Growth and maturity result as an answer to prayer.
I like to think that I am a fast learner. I can pick out specific lessons for trials in my life. The real problem is that I forget to apply the lessons and inevitably slide backwards. That’s when I pray, “God, may you use this for your glory!” Finally, I have reached the point where my prayers are not about me!
I desire God’s glory to be reflected through the circumstances of my life. God’s glory becomes personal as His peace settles over my mind and my heart. Oftentimes, the reason for the prayer remains the same, but I am changed. My problems feel smaller and my God feels closer as I exalt Him. God’s answer to my prayers was the evolution of power and intimacy in my relationship with Him: which is exactly what God desired for me and what I needed from Him all along!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.