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Pray to Be Stronger

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” I came across this quote by Phillips Brooks one day when I was online. As I thought and reflected on it, I began to see a clearer correlation to biblical teachings.

If we were to pray for an easy life, we would forgo the possibility of growing and maturing in our faith, since suffering and trials are a necessary part of our spiritual growth (cf. Isa 48:10; 2 Tim 3:12). Oftentimes, those who are spiritually strong are the ones who have gone through many difficult times with their faith intact.

In the Bible, how did the spiritually strong keep their faith during difficult times? They relied on God; they recognized that they would have failed had they relied on themselves; they accepted their weaknesses and turned to God.

Being humble enough to admit our weaknesses and to turn to God is the first step toward becoming a spiritually strong person. But it is not enough.

            Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:9b)

The apostle Paul didn’t just accept his weaknesses, but rather boasted and took pleasure in them because they allowed him to receive strength and power from God. And we can see from Acts and his letters that Paul did endure much suffering, yet was a powerful worker of God.

Given a choice, no one would choose a difficult life. But we ought to choose a spiritual life that continually grows stronger through the power of God. A spiritual life may not be an easy life, but through prayers we can keep our faith, receive strength from God, and see Him work in our lives.

Therefore, let us have the courage to strive toward not only accepting but boasting in our weaknesses. As Paul said, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10b).

Questions for Reflection

1.      Would we pray to be stronger despite afflictions?

2.      What does it take for us to grow spiritually stronger?

Author: Esther Yang