Today’s readings: Isaiah 32:1-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-17; Matthew 7:7-11
A few years ago, I traveled to Pretoria, South Africa, to be with my younger brother. He was thirty-four years old and diagnosed with an advanced stage of lymphoma. During my visit, we prayed together every day. In private, I also prayed and pleaded with God to spare my brother’s life. Without often mentioning my own desire to see my brother live, I pointed to God the fact that my brother was young, and had two young children and a wife who would be devastated if he were to die. Many people joined me in prayer, but he died. Did God hear our prayers? Yes! Did he give us what we asked for? No!
Without guaranteeing we will receive what we ask for, and without promising that through prayer, we will persuade God to change his plans, the Lord Jesus Christ invites us to maintain a relationship with God through prayer. The only thing he guarantees is that our Father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask him. While my prayers for my brother did not yield the result I sought, as I and others prayed, we learned to depend on our heavenly Father to give us good things.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to maintain a life of prayer and help me to trust that you will always give me good gifts even when my weak faith prevents me from seeing the good in them. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Stéphane Kalonji, Pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in New Bern, NC.