Wednesday, November 18, 2015
The Wrong Prayer?
2Cor. 12:9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul had just finished sharing about his thorn in the flesh. He had prayed three times that it would be removed. Was Paul praying the wrong prayer or was this all for a higher purpose? Paul’s thorn was not removed and as a result he heard the voice of God telling him that his grace would be sufficient and that his power would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness. Paul’s weakness provided space for Christ to dwell in him.
The higher purpose was Paul’s own spiritual growth. It was in the place of weakness that Paul realized that Christ would be revealed. The struggles made him strong in Christ. The prayer wasn’t wrong at all, for the prayer was answered by the strength of Christ.
There is great temptation to complain about the things that just don’t seem to be right in our lives. We all wish that we were better in a number of areas and I think most people work hard to hide their feelings of inadequacy. Paul, in his transparency was willing to admit that he had a weakness. He confessed that he didn’t like it and was praying that God would take it from him.
There are times when we pray for things that don’t come about the way in which we think they should. Paul’s thorn was not to be removed, but instead was to be used to reveal the power of Christ. If the cry of our hearts is to know Christ, then all other prayers will be answered in relation to knowing him. Paul wanted to know Christ at a very intimate level and his weaknesses became spaces for intimacy with Christ.
None of us like having weaknesses. Think about the “strengthfinders” exercises that we do — focusing on things that we do really well. The only problem with this is that we all do have weakness and it’s only when we are honest about our weaknesses that we leave space for God. When we constantly focus on what we can personally do well,we don’t have to rely on God. Of course, it is God who gives us our talents and abilities, but even with all the incredible talents of Paul, he had to learn to trust in Christ in his weaknesses.
His prayer was not unanswered, instead the prayer of his heart was answered in a beautiful way. Maybe we need to acknowledge our weaknesses and allow Christ to make us strong. Dependence upon him in every area of life will ultimately make us stronger than any strengths test may determine. The right prayer is to get to know Christ and leave the rest to him.
Lord, I want to know you. Amen.
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