I’m pretty picky about Christian fiction (because I was an English major, and therefore a book snob), but there are a couple of Christian series that I really love.
One is the Mitford books, by Jan Karon , about Father Tim, an Episcopalian priest who lives in a small town in North Carolina. They are kind of old lady books, slow and sweet. But the characters are so well-drawn it feels like I’ve been to Mitford, NC and am friends with the people who live there. When characters die (from old age, usually, these aren’t really action & danger books), I cry like it was my Grandma.
The faith of the characters and their walks with the Lord are very subtle, sweetly woven into the fabric of the story. It’s kind of cheesy to say, since they’re fictional people: But I feel like their faith and hope have encouraged my own. One of the themes echoing throughout the series is “the prayer that never fails”…meaning “Your will be done” (from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.)
I love the idea that this is the prayer that God always answers.
So often I pray just for what I want not knowing if God will say “yes!” “no!” or “wait!”, but here’s a prayer with a guaranteed YES: Your will be done.
I love what this does for my prayer life too: It turns my focus from what I want, and raises my eyes to what God wants.
After all, is the purpose of prayer to change God’s mind so that He’ll do what I want?
Or is it to change me, so that I want what He wants?
God’s whole purpose in my life is to transform me and conform me to His image (Romans 8:29-29, Romans 12:1-2), so I believe that is the purpose of prayer as well.
I have several situations in my own life and in the lives of those close to me where I am strongly tempted to tell God what I want, and what I think He should do (and, if I’m really honest, I want to tell Him how to do it too.)
But I know that He is GOOD, and He is working all things for good. So I think I’ll trust Him and pray the prayer that never fails.
Your will be done.
This post first appeared on my old blog, enthralltheking.wordpress.com. It is the second most viewed post over there, I have no idea why. It was first published in 2010 and has been viewed over 5,000 times (mostly in the years since I stopped writing over there.)