Blog 12 / Our High Calling
January 7, 2021
More to Prayer Than Meets the Eye
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 NIV
When we pray for our needs or those of our family and friends, we usually tend to pray the obvious. Someone is sick and we pray for healing. Someone else has a financial need and we pray the need will be met. This is all good. But sometimes there is more to a situation than meets the eye. Take Job for example.
The book of Job reveals that our lives are being played out on two stages—the earthly stage and the heavenly stage. Job had no idea that his sufferings on earth were a direct result of a confrontation in heaven between God and the devil. At stake: would Job, if God removed all of His blessings from his life, still speak well of God or curse Him?
If we had been alive in Job’s day we probably would have alerted all of our prayer chains to ask God to heal Job of his sores and blisters. But in the light of the conflict in heaven, the real prayer would have been that Job remain faithful and not curse God and die.
This conflict between God and the devil continues to this day. Satan is before God day and night accusing the believers while our Advocate, the Lord Jesus intercedes continually for us before the Father. The Holy Spirit meanwhile helps the saints to pray according to the will of God.
Since events in heaven impact our lives on earth, we need discernment when we pray. My wife and I, in our early days as GRN missionaries, went through several deep financial trials. The obvious prayer we wanted people to pray was for more support. The real issue we should have asked prayer for was that we would praise God and rejoice in Him regardless of whether we had a little or a lot. (Confession: yes, we did murmur and complain at first when we were out of funds, but God brought us to a place where we could genuinely thank Him for our trials because He used them to deepen our trust in the faithfulness of God which were priceless lessons.)
So when we pray, we should ask God to show us what to pray. Healing a sickness will bring Him glory. But it may bring Him greater glory if He does a deeper work of grace in the person by letting their sickness remain. He may also allow the enemy to buffet us without immediate deliverance. How else can we learn to be overcomers unless we have something or someone to overcome?
As with Job, the question is whether we will speak well of God if He allows us to suffer or undergo persistent trials. Whether He gives or takes away, can we still say, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”?
How can we not?
GRN Global Prayer Coordinator