Tuesday, May 06, 2008

One Way God Answers Prayer

In Augustine's Confessions, he retells the story of his sneaking away to Rome in spite of his mother's protests that he not go. Here is a section of his account (from Book 5, Chapter 8):

That night I privily departed, but she was not behind in weeping and prayer. And what, O Lord, was she with so many tears asking of Thee, but that Thou wouldest not suffer me to sail? But Thou, in the depth of Thy counsels and hearing the main point of her desire, regardest not what she then asked, that Thou mightest make me what she ever asked.

Did you catch that last part? Augustine says that though his mother's immediate request to God was not granted to her, the "main point of her desire" (namely, that Augustine would be converted) would eventually be granted to her. But this would come only through the denial of her immediate request, for Augustine's time in Rome would prove pivotal to his coming to faith.

I am greatly encouraged by this truth about prayer. Recently our small group was praying for one of our members who had just had a very promising job interview that excited her. It would be a job that would not only pay more but would also allow her to use her giftedness and interests. It sounded like a perfect match. So we were all quite disappointed that she has not gotten the job. But circumstances like this should not cause us to pray less. God, "in the depth of his counsels," is able to answer "the main point of our desire" even when our most immediate request is denied us.

So keep on praying. And then trust that God will answer in ways that he deems best. Remember that requests that are denied do not necessarily mean that God is saying "no" to what we really are asking for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ben. Good words.