Praying on the
wisdom says that God always answers prayer. It may be a
"yes", "no", or "wait" but He always
wounded side of me -- or the cynical side on my darker days -- feels
uncomfortable with this traditional wisdom. It let's God off the hook.
He is always right, and prayer becomes a guessing game on my part
to determine which of the three answers I may get "this
I tend to pray on the safe side.
than pray for a healing, I feel more comfortable praying for the
strength to endure sickness. Rather than pray for prosperity, I prefer
to pray for the wisdom and grace to handle well what I
have. Rather than pray for a new job, I tend to pray for patience.
After all, these things -- strength, wisdom, grace, patience -- are
fully within the will of God and not susceptible to a "no" or
friends of mine in a spiritual formation group tell me that I
"pray on the safe side." Perhaps I do.
prayers seem less susceptible to disappointment. My prayers seem less
prone to my spiritual short-sightedness. My prayers seem less likely to
add to my grief or pain. In short, I don't have to second-guess God or
suffer the sense of rejection that might come with a "no."
Some of us -- and sometimes me -- tend to take "no"
I pray on the safe side; prayers of petition and prayers of
intercession, but usually in the language of virtues and values
(wisdom, revelation, insight, courage, patience, faith, hope, and
it occurs to me that my "safe prayers" may, in fact, be the
most dangerous prayers of all. A new job, a shrinking tumor, and a
mystery gift are always welcome, but they generally leave the soul
untouched. When we open our hearts to transformation -- no longer
willing to wallow in worry, foster fear, or be bitter -- it's not just
my circumstances that change. I change.
my "safe prayer" (cf. Ephesians 1:18-19; 3:14-21) just might
open the door for the Father to turn me, and not just my circumstances,
safe are your prayers? May we all find ourselves drawn closer to Him
this week, whatever we're facing.