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Why I Said "No" to a Request for Prayer

A sweet woman taking a group through The Sacred Echo DVD Bible Study recently emailed me. She’d never led a Bible study before, and this was a big step for her.

The woman asked me to pray that she didn’t disappoint or fail or look ridiculous and fumble over her words.

I said, “No! I refuse to pray for any of those things.”
“I will only pray the opposite of everything you’ve asked for,” I continued.

I prayed she would make colorful mistakes and stumble and fumble along the way. I prayed she’d find herself struggling and have at least one unforgettable “Oopsies!” moment.

I begged the Lord that in every gaffe and slip up, she’d find herself leaning into God all the more.

I asked that in such moments, she’d learn to laugh hard and radiate joy. I prayed she’d rediscover the timeless truth that as children of God, we all glow in the dark. God’s robustness is proclaimed in our frailty.

Instead of being a leader wrapped in perfection, I prayed she would be clothed in with grace, humility, and love. And in the process, she’d be WONDERSTRUCK by the goodness and faithfulness of God.

I prayed she’d realize her job isn’t to have all the answers but to give a hearty embrace to those asking the toughest questions of life. I prayed she would never forget that among the greatest things she could ever give those she leads are the joyful truths of Christ, abundant gifts of kindness, Holy Spirit-infused prayers, and the hearty embrace of a listening ear.

I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from her again.

Or if she’ll ever forgive me for such a prayer.

But sometimes in order to experience the wonders of God in greater measure, we need to pray the opposite of what people ask.