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I've wondered about this as well. No one will deny that your friend is right in that we grow the most in the valleys of life. But praying for problems in my life doesn't make sense. But if I pray for a hedge of protection, is that the same as praying for a lack of opprotunity to grow? I usually end up praying somthing vague like "do in my life what is best for me" (although that should probably be "... what is best for You"). And then I'll probably end up praying for the trial to be removed as quickly as possible. And my daily bread. Can't forget that.

I'm reminded of a point made by C.S. Lewis (I think) that prayer is too powerful for us to always get what we pray for. So perhaps I can take comfort in the fact that God won't let a trial come into my life unless it's for my benefit. Which probably won't be too comforting at the time of the trial, but in the safety of my apartment it works pretty well.

And then there's Mother Theresa: "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."


Thomas More


Good points. I think the balance my friend missed is that life in this world will always deal out enough problems for each day. Our future glory will not have such trials. It is fine to pray to avoid such things: "remove this cup from Me." But that must be under the heading of Jesus' follow up: "yet not what I will, but what You will."

That's the balance it seems. "Take the bad stuff away please--but if what I see as "bad" is within your will, let my will be conformed to Yours. Let my understanding that You will accomplish something good surpass my understanding of the ills of these "momentary light afflictions.""

I would make a distinction with your "what's best for me v. what's best for you" idea. I think they are the same thing, so your original prayer is right on.

But not praying for trials is not necessarily trying to avoid growth. Growth can occur at all times. There is a season for everything. If God has us in a time of plenty, lets not question His judgment on what is best at that moment and pray for misfortune. Similarly, if it is a time of sorrow, lets understand that God has us where we need to be, ultimately, and that this too shall pass.

Great concepts from CSL and Mother Theresa!


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