In case you haven’t noticed, I do book reviews with a great company called BookSneeze.
One of the books they let me review was 31 Days of Happiness by David Jeremiah. You can read my review here.
Within those pages was a short story I would like to share with you. It is an important story as it brought me back to my thoughts on whether or not I would pray God’s will be done, and actually made me reconsider some things.
“During World War II, a man in Sussex, England, sent some money to the Scripture Gift Mission. He enclosed a letter saying that he longed to give more, but the harvest on his farm had been very disappointing because of a lack of water. He was also fearful because German bombs were being dropped in the area, and his family and farm were at risk. He asked the workers of Scripture Gift Mission to pray that no bombs would fall on his land.
“[A person of the mission leadership] wrote back from the mission and said that while he did not feel led to pray that exact prayer, he had prayed that God’s will for their lives would prevail. Shortly after, a huge German missile crashed down on the farm. None of the man’s family or livestock was harmed, but the bombshell went so far into the ground that it liberated a submerged stream. The stream yielded enough water to irrigate the man’s farm as well as neighboring farms. The next year, due to a bountiful harvest, the man was able to send a large offering to the mission.”
Just stop and let that story sink in for a minute.
A member of this mission prayed God’s will be done and a missile uncovered a blessing for one man and his neighbors.
I must have read this a half dozen times when I read through this book. It totally blew me away. It even brought new thoughts about praying God’s will to mind.
While you can read here why I stopped praying God’s will be done, what I was really getting at was the way people have turned that into a passive excuse for not really caring. They can sometimes reflect feelings of being disinterested in the person or situation they are praying about, so they glaze over it with a few words and assume that they have adequately prayed.
I do not think that is what Jesus meant when He said to pray “God’s will be done” in Matthew 6.
But what this story illustrates to me is that there is a real power to praying this way. And it isn’t passive or uninterested. In fact is is extremely passionate and completely involved.
Rather than being passionate or invested in the person or situation, the prayer is passionate and invested in God and what He wants. The individual knows that in any and all circumstances God is willing and able to move and change whatever He wants to see His perfect will come about.
Just like having a German missile uncover an underground stream.
This isn’t a weak or lazy prayer, this is actually a very difficult and mature thing to pray. Because praying God’s will be done puts us in a place where we are being completely submissive. We are abandoning our own wishes and desires for a certain outcome and asking God to have His sovereign way.
I would say, it takes a grown man to leave something in God’s hands. But it takes so much more than a human maturity to do this. And as a guy, I know that I don’t do it well.
Praying God’s will be done is a wonderful idea because God’s ways are so much better than ours.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Who would have thought that a bomb exploding in England was the best thing for this man? I wouldn’t have. But not only that, who would have thought that a bomb exploding in England would be the best thing for this man, and his neighbors, and a mission that was needing money to be donated?
And who would have thought of answering all those prayers in a single, unique moment? I wouldn’t have. But God did.
Praying God’s will be done opens up doors to the amazing impossibilities that God does everyday. It releases God to do whatever it is that He wants to do, however He wants to, whenever He wants to.
Praying God’s will be done is the prayer of the miracle seeker, those desiring to see the providential hand of God move in new and astounding ways.
When I read this story, when I think about how this man’s and that missions’ world was changed by praying God’s will be done, I realize something.
I need to reconsider praying that way.
Especially when that is what the world needs most.
Especially when I want to see God move unfettered in my life.
Maybe it is time for you to join me and reconsider praying God’s will be done.