A Morning Prayer for Those Who Are Suffering

girl sitting with head in her lap on a dock

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As I write these lines, my only child (age 25) has been suffering from a debilitating illness for months. I am offering these thoughts to him and, if you are suffering, to you.

  • Because of grace, I boldly approach you, mighty King of the ages.
  • I acknowledge I’m acceptable in your holy presence because you see in me the righteousness of Christ.
  • I declare glory and honor to your holy name. I join my voice with the voices of angels and saints before you as I shout you are King of kings and Lord of lords.
  • You are worthy to receive honor and praise. The heavens declare your glory.
  • My heart bursts with gratitude as I consider your sacrifice on my behalf. I know I once was separated from you and was destined for a miserable life on earth and torment for eternity.
  • I confess that I never would have found you on my own. I praise you for pursuing me and winning my heart to you.
  • I declare your ways are not my ways and your thoughts are not my thoughts. I declare that your brilliance and your mind are on a plane that my limited mind never will be able to comprehend. I am thankful that the one ruling the universe and orchestrating billions of lives has an intellect infinitely greater than mine.
  • Among the other things I cannot comprehend is my suffering. I know all suffering is an expression of the curse that followed man’s fall. But I do not understand why you do not remove it from me.
  • I consider the possibility that you want to remove my suffering, but you are too weak to do so. Open the eyes of my faith to your infinite power and might, expressed throughout the universe.
  • I consider the possibility that you are like the Greek gods, aloof and entertained by watching human drama and suffering unfold. Open the eyes of my faith to your intimate presence in the lives of your children and to your compassion. Allow me to sense that even when you give hard assignments, you deeply care about the suffering those assignments may carry.
  • I consider the possibility that I am mostly abandoned and alone in my suffering. Open the eyes of my faith to see your Spirit holding me every minute I am called on to suffer. Let me see the ways my suffering would have crushed me to nothing had the Spirit not been sustaining me at every moment.
  • I consider the possibility that my suffering is entirely random, carries no meaning, and is thus absurd. Open the eyes of my faith to the infinitely brilliant way you are orchestrating all things to bring your kingdom on earth and to bring glory to the Godhead. Even when I do not see the details, give me deep confidence that you know precisely what you are doing, that my hours of suffering are part of a plan that glorifies you, and that my suffering thus has meaning.
  • I consider the possibility that when my suffering someday ends, I will be no different than I was when it began. Give me a hunger to see these days make me more like Jesus. Reveal to me ways suffering can chip away imperfections. Reveal to me ways suffering can prepare and refine me for all that lies ahead. Give me a deep desire to cooperate with the Spirit rather than resist Him in that refining process.
  • Open my eyes to people I can reach and bless only because my sufferings allow me to identify with their sufferings. Open entirely new ways for me to glorify you that would have been impossible if I had never suffered.
  • Even though I am your child, I am susceptible to the voice of the enemy. When he whispers that suffering is my fault, cleanse my mind from that falsehood. When he whispers that suffering makes me inferior, cleanse my mind from that falsehood. When he whispers that it is foolish to hope, cleanse my mind from that falsehood. When he whispers that I am not a remarkable person—not brimming with gifts and abilities, not destined to join you in making a mighty impact on the earth—cleanse my mind from those lies from the pit.
  • If you complete whatever you are accomplishing through my suffering, with humility and with faith, I ask you to remove it from me. Open the eyes of my faith to trust your timing.
  • I joyfully declare to you that my worth and value, your love for me, and your acceptance of me all flow directly from your completed work on the cross. They do not depend on my behavior or accomplishments.
  • I watch with anticipation for the day you will split open the heavens and will return for the redeemed. I long for nothing more than to see you face-to-face and to sing praises directly in your presence.
  • I also long for new earth, where we will live forever in fellowship with you. The cosmos no longer will be touched by the curse, and all suffering will then be over!

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