I have to be honest: I've never prayed as hard and as fervently as I did during this past week and a half.  I pleaded and begged for God to show favor to my son, Joshua.  I begged him to respond quickly (as did the Psalmist in chapter 69).  No need has ever caused me such deep sorrow as has the need for my son's eye to be made whole again.  I have petitioned God with some serious needs, and God has ultimately answered.  But this one had the deep painfulness of a broken heart for my son.

The reason for this post is because Joshua received a "get well" card from a well-intentioned lady from church today.  She wrote, "Joshua, I will pray that God heals your eye.  But I will pray for His will to be done."  I get what she means.  I understand her acknowledgement that God is sovereign and in complete control of our circumstances.  I get it.  But what kind of prayer is that???  I wasn't angry, but I was a little miffed.  Obviously the need is much greater and more real to us than it is to her.  I wouldn't expect otherwise.  I'm not pointing fingers at her only, because I've been guilty of this very kind of prayer: "Dear God, if it's your will, will you please heal Mrs. Smith of her cancer?  Amen."  And then I'd go about my daily affairs. 

Of course He will heal (or do whatever it is He desires) if it's His will.  But if we're going to offer up weak prayers to God, then why pray at all?  Why should we expect our needs to mean anything to God when they don't even cause us to break a sweat?  Why should we expect our prayers to have any influence with God when we offer them so lightly, nonchalantly, cavalierly, sheepishly?

David Redding in 1960 wrote a book entitled "The Parables He Told".  I like what he had to say in his commentary on the parables of the persistent neighbor and the persistent widow, each found in Luke 11:5-13 and Luke 18:1-8 respectively.  "Those who take prayer so lightly they can't remember what it was they meant to pray for and never pray for the same thing two weeks in a row, who assume one mention is enough, at least to be mad about if He doesn't answer within the hour, make prayer a pity. ... Prayer demands determination and patience." (p.39)

See, we have two extremes set before us: (1) The will of God (something we don't know until the moment it is revealed) and (2) our intense desires that we present before Almighty God.  In other words, how do we pray for something we want and yet desire God's will?  Or how do we pray God's will when there's something we so desperately need?

First, we have the example of Jesus praying in the garden of Gathsemane that many use to support their "if-it-be-Your-will" prayers.  After He pleaded with the Father to spare him from His cup of wrath, Jesus closed his prayer, "...yet not as I will, but as You will."

What we often overlook in this prayer, however, is the intensity of Jesus' prayer.  He prayed passionately and fervently -- as if the weight of all humanity rested on his shoulders alone -- and he pleaded to the Father for rescue.  He prayed so intensely that the capillaries under his skin burst and mixed his blood with his sweat.  It was only AFTER his intense prayer request for rescue that Jesus reassured the Father that he was submitted to the His will.  Can I ask when the last time was that you prayed so zealously that you broke a sweat? 

The other example we have is the persistence of the neighbor and the widow mentioned in the parables of Jesus named above.  The subjects in these parables had such great needs that they presented their "petitions and requests" so persistently to their hearers that they reached a near point of annoyance.  Their needs meant something to them, and they expected their hearers to relent.  They expected response.

I wonder if our sheepish prayers "annoy" God.  I wonder if they cause Him to take notice.  Do we say, "Your will be done" because we truly desire God's will, or is it because we honestly don't even expect Him to answer?  Do we subconsciously (or even consciously) believe God is going to remain silent just like He did last time we asked Him for something important?  Did He not answer last time because that prayer, too, was painfully boring?  Is our sheepishness a display of our lack of faith?  Is it a cheap way of giving God an "out", as if to say, "God, You can just claim 'It's My will' if you don't want to answer this one...I'll understand."

So why should those prayers move the heart and hand of God if they don't hold any passion in our own heart?  Redding continues, "To attract the notice of the Almighty, prayer must have something of the insistence, the perseverence, the intensity, of the undiscouraged host who kept banging away at his neighbor's door at night, or the undaunted widow who kept pestering the tough old judge with her problem and wouldn't give up until he gave in." (p.40)

Please don't mistake my words: God is sovereign; He is in complete control; He knows our hearts and desires.
But please don't miss this: Our prayers ought to mean something.


  1. I do understand what you're saying...however, in the model prayer, the Lord's prayer...that's the exact wording: "Thy will be done."

    I know that you would never forget that God has a plan for your son. I am thinking that praying His will be done over Joshua should, perhaps, be your first prayer. I don't think it's a weak prayer at all. In fact, I think it's one of the strongest prayers you can pray...about anything.

    Having said that...

    Believing the Bible is the Word of God, and that His promises are "yes" and "amen," (which means "so be it" as I know you know), and we are promised healing, therefore, keep praying for healing. There is authority in the name of Jesus, the name above all names, including the name of "cataract" and "detached retina."

    May I offer my thoughts? Instead of begging God, I am suggesting that you stand on the Word, the promises of healing, read back to God what He said about healing, believe, and by all means, pray "Your will be done in my son's life."

    Please know I do not make light of your situation, I am not judging your actions...I truthfully have no answers...but God does. I say all of the above as humbly as I know how...they are merely suggestions and my opinions, and not meant to offend in any way. I, too, will be praying for his healing.

    1. TBR: Thank you for your words. I did not take your comment as judgmental or anything other than humbly and respectfully. Thank you!

      First, I couldn't agree more that praying "Your will be done" is by far the foremost words that should be said, and yet is one of the hardest parts in praying this past week. I want MY will. Giving it to God is very difficult.

      Second, where are we PROMISED physical healing in this life? If it were so, then I wouldn't need to pray for God's will to be done, because physical healing today WOULD BE His will, right?

    2. Exodus 15:26: I am the LORD that healeth thee. (Heb. 13:8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever…OT and NT. John 10:30 I am my Father are One)
      Isaiah 53:5: With his stripes we are healed. (ARE not will be)
      1 Pe. 2:24: By whose stripes ye were healed. (WERE not maybe)
      Matt. 8:17: He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
      Psalm 103:2-3: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases…

      As far as HIS WILL goes, and your question about physical healing would be His will...I don't know. I mean, there's a lot of "not God's will" that happens to Christians by no fault of their own. So, I just don't know.

    3. TBR, I'm not at all trying to fight a theological battle here. But I do want to be careful in how I understand scripture.

      I love the passages you've provided, and I agree with them. I agree with them in their proper contexts, but I don't see any of them PROMISING physical healing in this life.

      When Yahweh said He was the Lord that heals us (as in Ex 15), the context was the Israelite's rescue from Egypt. God afflicted the Egyptians to cause them to release the Israelites from slavery. The Egyptians were "sick" because Yehweh, God, had spoken judgment against them. I think that's what is in mind there...not physical healing for their cancers, etc.

      As an aside, Egypt was plural-theistic in that they trusted many gods...but Yhwh would say "I, not Rah, not Isis, not any other god, but the God who heals you. Only I can do it, not them."

      "By his stripe we are healed" refers to our spiritual affliction, not our physical. We have an absolute guarantee of our sin-sickness being healed at the Cross! Thank God!!! But this is not referring to our physical healing today as a guarantee.

      CAN He? Absolutely!
      Will He? Sometimes, but not always. After all, if physical healing in this body was a guarantee (according to that passage), then Christians would never get sick or die, right? We wouldn't have to worry about these kinds of conundrums. Bummer!!

      I think this statement helps: "We should not assume every time we see the word “heal” in the Bible it is referring to divine healing for the physical body. The common Greek term for physical “healing” is therapis, therapeuo (from the Hebrew rapha), in the Isaiah 53 text, and the context in which it is quoted is focused on sin, not our sickness or illness. We should not disregard what the context is about." (source:

      Again, I'm not trying to split hairs. I love the encouragement that you're sending me. Thank you. I just want to be careful in what I believe, because it influences how/what I pray.

      What do you think??

    4. What do I think? I think I'll have to be very blunt, and hope I don't come across anyway but sincere.

      Sometimes, we just have to make a choice to simply believe, without over-thinking, without a child. Simply believe that he heals ALL our diseases, that by His stripes we are (physically) healed. You're never going to have ALL the answers , so don't dwell on the "It must not be his Will, or we'd never get sick or die" kind of thinking.

      What would be so bad about letting a belief about God's healing powers influence what/how you pray? If you're a child of God, anyway you pray is fine. Have you set up a certain way that Joshua can ask you for things? (I know he can't throw tantrums or demand, but we don't do that to God, either.) So why not choose to believe he promised healing and ask for it? It's not as if He'll be displeased with you for believing that, or asking for it.

      James 5:13 NKJV Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

      Here's the blunt part: If you don't believe He will heal, or are afraid to believe that He does, indeed, promise healing, then are you really praying the prayer of faith?

      What He wants from us is relationship. One-on-one. Heart to heart. You and Him. Don't get so much head knowledge that He can't speak to your heart (through His word or through your spirit.) And don't think the ole Recluse just told you not to study...didn't do it! But sometimes, you just have to come to him as a child...child like faith.

      Let me tell you a story about my grandson, Devon, who, along with his brother, was born with hemophilia. Last year, God healed both of them. That's not the story I want to tell, though. Because of the hemophilia...any little cut could cause a trip to the ER and infusions. Devon had cut his foot, and we were having the worst time trying to get it to close up and heal. He'd already had lots of prayer and a couple of infusions (Factor 8, the clotting factor) and we still couldn't get to close up and stop bleeding. I finally told Devon to pray for his own foot. He's a child. He believes. Me? I believe, but I have that head knowledge that sometimes gets in the way... anyway... Devon prayed. Foot healed right up. Stopped seeping that day and was completely gone in a day or two.

    5. TBR, I love these kinds of conversations! They're good for us!

      "Simply believe that he heals ALL our diseases, that by His stripes we are (physically) healed." I absolutely believe He can! But I know that's NOT what the original Hebrew use of "healed" had in mind. Concordances and bible scholars concur.

      "What would be so bad about letting a belief about God's healing powers influence what/how you pray?" Because what we believe matters. I don't want false hope that God has promised to heal my son in THIS life. Which is exactly why I pray with fervency. There's no doubt about Him in my mind what-so-ever! I praise God for the good news that He has already brought us in this trial! I'm truly believing for more good news. But I'm not holding out false hope on a promise that was never promised in the first place...that's all.

      Once again, the James it...but again the context is dealing with spiritual sickness and healing and restoration.

      "If you don't believe He will heal, or are afraid to believe that He does, indeed, promise healing, then are you really praying the prayer of faith?" That's just it, I DO believe He heals. I believe He can. I believe he DOES. But I don't see that it's a biblical promise or guarantee...which is why, again, I'm approaching Him so passionately about it. To believe without ground to stand on is akin to "name it claim it" theology. If that kind was true, then it would work every time.

      I think that's absolutely awesome about your grandson. So very cool when you hand over the reins and say, "Now you pray." And to have him healed is phenomenal! It's a good reminder that I should also encourage my own son. Thank you!

    6. I wish you and Joshua the best. :)

    7. By the way, I've seen your profile pic on your blog in the past and you do NOT look old enough to have a grand child. And I'm not saying that sarcastically. It's the picture of you in sunglasses, and it looks like you're in a car or something.

    8. Thanks, Mike. That's about an 80/20 combination of good genes and selective photography. I'll let you guess which is the 20%!

  2. As I have shared...It is when we compare God's definitions to our desires that our fear enters. I stand with the spider...pray for your desire..pray specifically ..pray continually. You and I fear God.. Your son only fears doctors. We kneel and weep with you. We look forward to being whole.

    1. Thank you, Jim! Well said. Very encouraging.