There's a situation here at home to which I've alluded, but upon which I have not elaborated. It's a fairly private matter (and no, it's not scandalous, simply private), so I don't feel that sharing details are appropriate, at least not now. That said, it is something very much on our minds, in our prayers, and weighing on our hearts. Since I tend to blog about my life it is difficult to avoid referring to it here. For one thing, it consumes a fair amount of time and energy. For another, it is something that requires thoughtfulness and reflection. There are decisions: do I speak or not? How carefully must I weight my words? From whom might I receive counsel? Is it appropriate for me to act? This is also a situation from which I am learning, and so once again reflection leads the way.
One thing upon which I am reflecting is prayer. In my thinking a desired result is the object of prayer. The journey toward that result is at God's discretion and in his/her hands, and not for me to suggest. For instance: someone I know is job hunting. My prayer for her is that she find a job that is satisfying and that challenges her toward growth into the fullness of her potential. I don't pray that she gets a specific job in a specific place. In my thinking attaching specifics to the prayer binds it and limits the possibilities for its fulfillment.
So I'm experiencing a little bit of a dilemma. I've been asked to pray for someone to be led to a deeper relationship with Christ through which transformation and healing would take place. The desire is that the resulting inner transformation would lead to the resolution of a difficult situation. Hmmm. On the one hand there is nothing wrong with this prayer. Its intentions are good and the desired result is definitely worthy. But I am balking. I am resisting the idea that I, or anyone else, should try to direct how another person experiences transformation or healing. It may be that this person's relationship with Christ (which already exists) is the best vehicle through which transformation can take place. But isn't that up to God? To me the prayer is best expressed in "end terms." By that I mean that I would pray that God would help the people involved in this particular situation to resolve their conflict, experience reconciliation and healing, and find transformation in the relationship. I'm uncomfortable suggesting how that result would come to pass. I suppose I am also troubled about this prayer request because it places the burden of change on one party, when both parties involved in this matter would benefit from transformation. That's a different matter, but it's connected.
In spite of this prayer puzzle I am singing praises this morning because apart from the prayer request, a door that had been closed has now opened. It is a step in the process of resolution and reconciliation that is necessary, and this movement is inspiring hope within me that progress can, in fact, be made. I am grateful for the grace God has given me for my part in this thus far, and will pray that I continue to make thoughtful and, yes, prayerful decisions on this journey. I am also crossing my fingers, because God is full of surprises.