Culture, Faith, Life

Praying Prayers That Scare You

“Your will be done Lord”

How many of us pray this prayer? I spend most of my prayer time asking questions, begging God to meet my needs and wants, and I know that I am not alone in that. We often pray with tunnel vision, focusing only on the thing that we feel is most important in that moment. God has more for us.

When I was sixteen years old I went to a wilderness camp. It was a camp designed for teens with emotional needs and addictions. Some were court ordered there, some were sent by their parents. I was the latter of the two.

When I first arrived I was terrified and angry. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of there. So I began to pray. I prayed for anything and everything that would get me out of the woods. Weeks passed and still I remained. I was angry with God for not removing me from the situation. But then I heard Him say, “sweet girl I have placed you here for a purpose. I won’t take you out of this place, but I am here. I will carry you when your pack is too heavy and bruises your hips, I will hold you at night when there are noises in the woods, I will dry your tears when you miss home so much it hurts. I will walk this with you.” And so I began to pray differently than I ever had. I began to pray for the presence of God, His peace, and His strength, not just for a change in my circumstance.

“Your will be done” is such a hard prayer to pray. What if His will is that we move halfway across the country to a place where we know nobody and don’t speak the language? Or what if His will is that we walk through a season of pain and suffering we feel we may never make it through? What if His will is that a loved one joins Him in heaven and we lose them here on earth? God is good, but I will be the first to admit that His will can be scary sometimes. It is never easy, it pushes us to leave behind the things of this world, and that is always a difficult road.

Please hear that I am not saying that we should never pray for the desires of our hearts, or the healing of a loved one. But what I am saying is that sometimes we need to stop and pray for more of the Holy Spirit. Pray that He leads us where we need to go to be more like Him, even if that means pain and suffering in our own lives.

I pray often for the peace that passes all understanding. Recently our family has been going through a time of pain and crisis. So much is out of my control. Being an anxious person, I struggle not to crumble in fear when things around me are in upheaval. And so I pray for peace, the kind of peace that makes no sense considering my circumstance, the peace that passes all understanding.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV

I also pray often for strength. Life brings a lot of hardships; maybe you have noticed this. And while hard times often lead to our greatest good, it rarely feels that way in the midst of it. We need supernatural strength to face these trials, and we need supernatural strength to do hard things when we are called to them.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Psalm 28:7-8 NIV

I don’t ask for wisdom as much as I ask for peace and strength, I think maybe because I try so hard to hold onto the idea that I know what I am doing. But every once in a while, a decision comes along that I can’t even pretend to make sense of, or there’s a problem I can’t figure out. And in those moments I turn to Jesus in desperation and always find the knowledge I need. Now it doesn’t always come right away like an epiphany or a direct landline to God, but in His perfect timing I am given more wisdom and clarity than I could have every found in myself.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Our lives are ultimately not about us. They just aren’t. And while God loves us and cares about are pain and cries with us in our despair, there is something greater going on than us being comfortable. We have the choice to pray only for happiness and comfort, or to pray for God’s will in every situation, regardless of the fire we may have to walk through. Saying yes to God, praying the hard prayers, letting go of what we think we need; these are the things that change our lives, that make life worth living, that bring us closer to Christ.


I so badly want you to take away the hardship I am currently facing. I don’t know how I am going to navigate this. But Lord, if it is your will, if this is for you glory, let me be brave. Give me your strength and your peace and your wisdom. Help me to know that you are with me always, carrying me when I cannot walk another step. Your ways are higher than my ways, help me trust in your goodness and your sovereignty. AMEN.

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