In HOPE 10.8

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David Timms

 Prayer for Today

Father, I believe that the circumstances of my life matter to You. But I know that the shape of my character matters more. While I fret over situations, You search my heart. So I turn to You afresh today and ask that Your priorities become mine.

Whatever happens today, may I experience the flow of Your grace in me and through me. Mold me more into the image of Your Son. Remove my fears and ground me more deeply in Your love.

And may all that I do and say bring glory to You. Amen.   


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Praying on the Safe Side

Traditional wisdom says that God always answers prayer. It may be a "yes", "no", or "wait" but He always answers prayer.

The 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 time."

Consequently I tend to pray on the safe side.

Rather 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 a "wait."

Dear friends of mine in a spiritual formation group tell me that I "pray on the safe side." Perhaps I do.

My 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" personally.

So, 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 love).

But 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.

And 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, upside-down.

How safe are your prayers? May we all find ourselves drawn closer to Him this week, whatever we're facing.





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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2010) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.