Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lord Who At Cana's Wedding Feast"1 (Lyrics)
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 – Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (NLT)
I prayed numerous times daily, but nothing changed.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, a life-changing situation had turned my world upside down. Because of the nature of the situation — and the prevailing belief within the denomination that I belonged to, I could no longer serve in the profession that I had been in for the previous 14 years. I prayed for God to open a door. Individual churches had the authority to overlook and understand what had happened and call me anyway. Few did. Hundreds of resumes pummelled the mail system. One church representative called to say that having me as pastor would split his church — a call that I thought could have been avoided. Two others called with salary offers that no one could live on. Entering another profession seemed my only option.
During this time in my life, disappointment, discouragement, and depression were my occasional bedfellows. Like Paul, I begged God to remove the thorn in my flesh. Though I didn't hear His answer, my unchanging circumstances revealed it: "No." Would I learn to do what Paul did — boast about his weakness, or continue wallowing in my self-pity? Of course, some reminded me that prayer changes things.
My prayers seemed to change nothing. However, over time, I discovered that it had. My prayers changed me. I let go of my bitterness over what had happened and my bitterness toward those who wouldn't allow me to obey God's call. Paul learned to glory in his weakness, and I did as well. Instead of stewing over my circumstances, I allowed God to use them for His glory. Since then, many have come to me for counsel because of what I've gone through — whereas they wouldn't have talked to others who couldn't comprehend their pain. In time, God put me back into full-time ministry.
Prayer might not change the course of a hurricane or tornado, alter the mindset of a spouse who chooses to walk away, modify the course of a rebellious child, or revise the boss's mind about a layoff, but it will change our perspective on the circumstances, which, in turn, will alter our attitude. When our attitude changes, so will our response.
Prayer will change things. If nothing else, us.
Prayer: Father, may we be faithful in our prayers, trusting You to answer them in the manner that You see fit. Amen.