“And He went a little beyond them,
and fell on His face and prayed, saying,
‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me…’”
Matthew 26:39 (NASB)
“Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations,
for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh,
a messenger of Satan to torment me—
to keep me from exalting myself!
Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might leave me.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NASB)
G had the same cancer that took her beloved mother’s life when G was 12 years old. I visited her weekly during her last few months in hospital. On one visit she asked me if I thought she would be healed. I hesitated for a moment and then said I was hoping and praying she would be healed but I was not sure she would be.
How do we pray for people in pain? Can we ask for relief when the reality seems to deny any such possibility? Does such a request fight against the will of God? Do we sin in asking for what seems contrary to God’s will? Will the Lord hear such prayers?
We never sin when we ask the Lord to relieve suffering in our lives or the lives of others. This is clear from the prayers of our Lord in Gethsemane and the three prayers of Paul. The Lord never sees such prayers as rebellion or sinful. So, I do encourage people to ask for relief. What I believe needs to be in our thinking is that sometimes the “cup” is not removed, and the “thorn” remains.
Pray earnestly and persistently. Pray several times. Jesus and Paul had three sessions of prayer seeking relief so we may do the same. Come to your loving Father in heaven today and be assured you shall be heard whether your request is granted or not.
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev’ry hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
– W. Cowper