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On trials

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“It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith." Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?-for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised?” -Charles Spurgeon

Of all that Jesus taught, the most difficult was how to pray. In Matthew 6 Jesus said, “This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven…..your Kingdom come, your will be done…’” (Matthew 6: 9-15) Should the “Lord’s Prayer” become part of your regular conversation with God, I can attest that your life shall never be the same. Specifically, “…your will (not mine) be done…” is the greatest meditation within the prayer and, if taken seriously, the most beneficial to a growing follower of Jesus Christ.

In order to understand how we can learn to pray let’s first consider a different context. For example if you wanted to learn to play the violin, you could break down the process into three distinct components: instruction, practice, and performance. A new violinist must first find a teacher with the ability to play the violin and teach the mechanics of making the instrument produce sounds and read music in order to transfer the mechanics learned into discernable music. Secondly, the student must perfect his teacher’s lessons through diligent practice. Finally, to confirm he can play the violin, the student must perform for the enjoyment (hopefully) of an audience.

Likewise, the growing Christian learns how to pray from the Teacher (Jesus). He diligently prays talking to his Father in heaven and listening to what He says. Finally the diligent Christian, desiring to put into practice what His Master requires, walks in the ways of Jesus Christ, going into “all the world” setting aside his own desires to do the will of the Father. Easy to say but prayer, like learning an instrument, is a lifetime pursuit that is never perfected but continuously pursued as the only way to communicate with the One loved you while you were yet a sinner. (Romans 5:8)

Brothers and sisters, when one takes up his own cross to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24) he or she puts down his own desires and takes up everything the Father wants him to do. “Thy will be done,” are the most challenging words in the bible! This phrase, demands complete allegiance to God and requires love of self to be set aside and when we begin to pray in earnest God will help us to be molded in the image of Christ.

“God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians,” writes Charles Spurgeon. “He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.” Yes, our loving Father will lead us through life’s trials to train us in His ways and help us focus on the things that distract us from doing His will. He is not doing things to us, he is leading us through difficulties that can shape our godly character. “Thy will be done,” no matter how painful, in this present trial is the practice a growing Christian needs to make his performance a pleasing gift to His Father in heaven.

In your next storm, begin to praise Him who is sovereign over all remembering, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This is His perfect will for you and me. Blessings!

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