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Heavenly Father,
I’m sure You could tell me how many times I’ve prayed for You to “take away” a hard trial or uncomfortable situation. Many of those prayers have been for situations I’ve been in. Probably, there have been just as many times I asked You to take something away that seemed too hard for my children when they were young—and even now that they are mature and have families for me to pray for. I know I have prayed this prayer for those I have cared for as they have suffered physically, emotionally or spiritually. What about all those times I have stood by those who have grieved deeply? It is so hard to suffer–and watch others suffer…

I have prayed the “take this away” prayer often enough now that I have finally found true comfort in the second half of the prayer Jesus prayed—“Yet not my will, but Yours be done.” I have watched You bring about incredibly good things from the hardest times. I can even thank You for not always answering my “take-this-away prayers.” You knew something much better would come from going through it. I can look back and see how my trust in You has grown as You held me through a challenge instead of taking it away. It has even affected my prayers for others undergoing a hard test.

I still ask to have the hard thing removed, but I know it is better left in Your hands. What if I was to take away the very thing which will produce the greatest blessings? The hard trial might even bring someone to a saving relationship with You, a deeper trust of You, a new ministry, an incredible testimony which will draw someone else to You! Lord, I have seen You miraculously take something away that I have prayed for and I have seen You miraculously use the fire to burn away all the unimportant things in life. Lord, You know I will keep on praying but I believe in Your all-knowing wisdom to trust You for the best answer. It is enough to know You will never ever leave me—or the ones I pray for. No one can ever take that away!

 

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“Going a little farther, He (Jesus) fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Matthew 26:39

 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God.” Isaiah 43:2-3

 

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I really ready to trust Your goodness no matter what?

Heavenly Father,
One time in my early twenties, I was going through what seemed like more than my share of some pretty intense trials which seemed to have no way out. I needed to talk to my dad; so I went to find him where I could almost always find him—at the end of a water hose watering plants in one of the back commercial growing greenhouses. I was in luck because that meant no customers and his undivided attention. He listened with compassion as I poured out my heart. Then he told me I needed to go home and read the book of James from the Bible. So I did. I read through part of the second verse… “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I was so mad that I closed the Bible! How could I count these intense situations I was going through as joy!? It took me many more trials and turning to You, Lord, to realize I could truly consider my trials joy…

When I first began facing all these adult trials, I thought no one else in the world ever had to face so much hardship. Since that time, I have discovered that this life is filled with trials of many kinds, and every single person faces their own unique testing and obstacles. Little did I know those first trials I faced were nothing compared to some of the trials to come. I finally read the rest of the book of James—including the rest of that sentence I closed the book on earlier. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lord, I’m so glad I am not in my twenties any more. Yet now I truly can count each and every trial I have gone through as joy. Each challenge has shown me how weak I am and how much I need You. Each trial has drawn me closer to You because I knew I could not get through it on my own. Every time, I have learned that Your ways are far better than my most brilliant ideas. My faith in You has grown through having to trust You. You have developed perseverance in me and I have learned to stop and consider any new trial joy because I know You will work out things far better than I ever could! It is a joy to persevere through this life with You, Lord! I will persevere all the way until I finish this race and You come get me!

 

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“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, what past and current trials can I consider joy?…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!