Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. The Lord uses the prayers of the saints to bring about His purposes. The years I prayed for my son, long before I ever knew he’d be mine… long before he was in existence, God was using those prayers. He was hearing them, and answering them. Sometimes in the answer of “wait,” and “not yet.” Sometimes answers like that can feel like no answer at all.
J.I. Packer also wrote: “It is God’s prerogative to give good things, things that we have need of, and if in our unwisdom we ask for things that do not come under these headings God, like any good parent, reserves the right way to say, ‘No, not that; it wouldn’t be good for you—but have this instead.’ Good parents never simply ignore what their children are saying, nor simply disregard their feelings of need, and neither does God; but often he gives us what we should have asked for, rather than what we actually requested.”
I thought about this passage of Knowing God when I heard that quote: Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. It’s true, so often we are caught up in the now…caught up in what the cries of our hearts are now, that we fail to see the big story that God is writing. If we knew what God knew, our faith wouldn’t be built and strengthened in the same way. He knows what we need before we ask for it… He knows what we need even when we don’t ask for it, but we ask for something else. Trust the wisdom of your Good Father.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom he receives.” -Hebrews 12:5b-6