March 19, 2020

Not my will but thine be done. Luke 22:42

Well, it had happened again. An interaction with THAT person had gone wrong. How did it happen? Why did it happen?

We should have been close. Our interests were similar and we had lots of mutual friends. I knew this person to be kind and generous, quick to offer help to even the most casual acquaintance. But any time we crossed paths, there was tension. We didn’t have direct confrontations but we just didn’t get along.

So, on January first, as I was contemplating the blank slate of possibilities for the new year and what I could do with it, a thought popped into my head. Every day, I would pray for this person: for health and happiness, for peace and joy. And I did! However, I must confess that, on most days, there was another thought that snuck in: let this person see the need to change. I’m not proud of this, but it happened.

Those prayers were not giving me much satisfaction, but I plowed ahead. Then, one day about two weeks into 2020, I found my prayers were not the same. Instead of asking for that person to change, I found myself asking for a bigger heart and for more patience and understanding. And you know what? For the first time since starting this exercise, when my prayer ended, I felt a sense of profound peace that lasted all day. Through this experience I learned, again, the power of prayer and that sometimes it’s not what you pray for that you get but what you need that God delivers. I still pray every day and can’t tell you what it means to THAT person but I sure know what it has meant to me.

The words of an old hymn came to mind that evening as I was falling asleep. “Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Father, thank you for opening my eyes and my heart to all the wonderful possibilities you have in store for me.

Patricia Webster

About the Contributor:
Patricia Webster has been a member of First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg for over 30 years and was on staff for 23 years. She has been honored to serve on a variety of committees.