On Praying for the Easy Life

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.”

— Phillips Brooks
U.S. Episcopal bishop (1835–1893)
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  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter

    Wow. Thank you.
    AMEN!

  • http://twitter.com/andrew_acker Andrew Acker

    Encouraging to read for the week ahead. Thank you!

  • http://sharayamikael.wordpress.com Ally Spotts

    I love this! A mentor/friend of mine sent me this quote last week to help me through a difficult time. It is of a similar sentiment, so I’ll share it here:

    “Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” -Jim Rohn

  • http://www.howtobeatree.com TJ

    Praying for an “easy life” is praying against God’s word, for his word says our lives will be filled with trials and tribulations. We should always focus on strengthen our spirit, our character, so that we can draw nearer to Christ, abiding in Him. When he miraculously transforms us, we have no choice but to glorify Him by our lives being breathing examples of HIS great power. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Ken K. Chartrand

    Just love the above quote from Phillips Brook!

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  • Anonymous

    It is in the difficult times of life that we grow the most.

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    My teens in my youth group think I’m crazy because I pray that we can experience persecution, since faith seems to explode in the persecuted church. It’s not that I’m sadistic, but I pray that God will grow our faith in any way he sees fit to do so.

    • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

      There is nothing in the Bible that suggests we should ask God to give us increased affliction. I think you should stop teaching teens to pray for that.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        On the contrary, Bret. There are several places in the New Testament that link suffering through persecution with spiritual growth. Look through the book of Acts and watch the leaders of the early church rejoice when they were considered worthy to be beaten as Jesus was. Look at Matthew 5:10-12, where Jesus says blessed are the persecuted and to rejoice when it happens to you. Or look at James 1:2-3, where James says to rejoice when you face persecution, because persecution develops perseverance.

        Or look around the world. The church is exploding with growth in countries where it is oppressed. In America? Not so much. Jesus told us we will be persecuted for our faith. And that will cause our faith to grow stronger. The question is: am I willing to let God grow my faith? Or am I satisfied with complacency? I’m willing to allow God to do what it takes to build a rock-solid faith within me. And that will probably require my faith to be tested. So be it. What about you?

        • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

          Jeff,

          We’re on the same page on suffering and persecution. I agree with everything you just posted.

          But we are never told to ask God to send persecution. That’s like praying to God to get cancer (I have met people who prayed for that too). Being willing to suffer for the Gospel is not the same thing as yearning for suffering. Be willing, we must. But to ask for it is completely outside of the biblical paradigm of persecution and suffering.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I understand where you’re coming from. In fact, I’m not sure that we aren’t viewing different sides of the same coin. And like I said in my original comment, I’m not sadistic, praying for pain (as your cancer example). I’m just praying that God will grow myself and my teens in our faith. In any way he chooses. That’s all.

        • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

          (PS: I’ve got other ideas I could add, but I think any more than what we’ve already said is outside of the scope of this particular forum. Maybe email me? jbmavrich@mac.com Thanks, Jeff)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Veniamin-Andreyuk/1088737400 Veniamin Andreyuk

          You sound right for yourself but you are not based on the Word of God.  Bible never told us to pray for persecution! If it’s not in the Bible-  it is not from God.  Jesus never ever told Satan based on He thinks but what exactly said in the Word of God.  I know what is Soviet Persecution. I cannot say that persecution bring fire of God. I ‘ve seen many Christians in my country who hated atheistic government .  Is this in the Bible? – No.  Right now you can meet many old Christians who had gone through prison for years because they were pastors or just common Christians. But… 99% of those people just plead glory from young Christians for themselves because they were persecuted severely.  They try to put down young Christians (teenagers) saying, “You don’t know what persecution is!”. It’s not Biblical! God is jealous! He is never allow to steal glory from him. 

          Talking about me…I was bored in persecuted church and most young people in that time. It didn’t bring me close to God. When persecution stopped in 90s, God saved me. Is it interesting?  Was I rebellious as a kid in conservative family? – No. I was very religious to extreme. But I still was bored not even recognizing that I am in such condition.Have you ever seen that some kids ask to spank them because they want to be better kids? I have not. Bible says that Our Father in Heaven much better than our best daddy.
          If we love God only when  He is spanking us we are not in good spiritual condition. It’s not love. Love is willful. You always choose to love! Love is a choice. You cannot love by force!

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I appreciate your experiences.  And thanks for your comments.  But I respectfully disagree.  Perseverance is developed through the testing of our faith.  Looking at the state of American Christianity in general, it seems extremely complacent.  I’m praying that God uses whatever means necessary to awaken and make vibrant our faith.  I never suggested that we “love God only when he is spanking us.”  But instead that God uses whatever he needs to use to build our faith.  Thanks.

  • Laurie

    Thank you. This post was very timely. Perhaps it was the “powers” needed to help me with the huge task ahead of me. ;) It sure helped me refocus on the focus of my prayers. Cheers and blessings to your day ahead.

  • http://twitter.com/justinfalls Justin Falls

    Thanks Michael…..encouraging!

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Wow! Powerful!

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  • Lynette

    A very good word for a Monday. Thank you. I don’t pray for ease, but I do ask the Lord for a breather every now and then.

  • Anonymous

    Very encouraging.

  • http://twitter.com/gritandglory Alece

    such a good reminder for me today. i often so badly want “out” instead of wanting strength to stay “in”.

    makes me think of the promise in deuteronomy 33:25 — “your strength will equal your days”. praying for “powers equal to my tasks” today.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    We aren’t meant to have it easy. :o) I just pray to have our needs meant rather than our wants.

  • http://www.validleadership.com James Castellano

    Awesome post, thanks

  • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

    I don’t understand the last part, where he makes the distinction about miracles. Can someone explain it to me?

    • gokousupasayan

      To explain this, I’ll give you another saying. “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and feed him for life.” What happened to that man? He changed. His circumstances may have remained the same, but he changed. In essence, your “tasks” do not really matter, it’s “you” that matters. Ask for power to change yourself, not your circumstances. And when you’ve changed, that’s when the real miracle happens. You become the miracle, not your circumstances.

      Phillip Brooks is merely rephrasing what Paul writes in Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul never prays to get out of prison or to get out of his suffering. He prays to be strengthened by the Spirit, to have strong faith, to be rooted in love. Through those things hopefully we might possibly understand God’s incredible power that is already at work in our lives.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Encouraging qoute Mike! Thanks for sharing

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  • Geraldine Del Rosario

    Amen to that.