A friend recently asked me to pray for her. She is living in a way that is, what I dare say, reprehensible to her savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ. She knows that her chosen lifestyle is wrong and is not good for anyone involved, yet she continues in it only asking that I pray for her. First of all, why is it my job to pray for her? Is she praying for herself? And for what am I praying, exactly? For courage to leave the situation? Prayer for the ungodly desires to go away? Prayer for her roommate to leave so she wouldn’t have to? I didn’t get that far into the conversation because of an interruption, probably initiated by the devil himself.
I’ve been in a few ungodly situations, and my friends, it ain’t going away, prayer or no prayer. I prayed for courage to end bad relationships. I prayed that the Lord would pull me away. I prayed for jobs to become available out of state. I even prayed that the other person would find me detestable and would end it. I often thought it would run its course, but it didn’t. It wasn’t until I had the guts to confront it, to end it myself, no matter the consequences, that my peace and I got back together and had a long, warm, and loving embrace.
We’d rather wave bye to the foreseeable consequence of our bad choice than to suffer even a little while at the expense of a lifetime of agony. Prayer was not the answer for me. I mean, sure; our loving Lord answers prayer, but He would not do for me what I could do for myself. The question we must ask ourselves is, how much angst are we willing to suffer? What is it going to take for us to move on? We are obviously receiving a payoff; is it worth it? Is a nice dinner out or a paid beach vacation really worth it? Is a home on a desired piece of property in which the expenses are shared worth it? Is the fake security of an annoying human hooked to us at the hip worth the pain of all that dead weight? In most cases, the answer is, yes. Where the rubber meets the road, the pea-sized amount of joy, help, or pleasure is worth the agony we experience. But when is enough, enough? At what point does the manageable become unmanageable? When do the things that make it worth it become un-worth it? Not by staying another year. Not by doing the same things over and over again expecting a better result. Nothing will change until someone has had enough. And, no amount of prayer will deliver that person until they see and feel the tightening of the crank.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3