Tuesday, May 1st, 1917 – His Will
May's pen rose gently from the journal's page to the let the ink dry. She squinted, her chestnut-brown eyes studying the words she had written. She wasn't going to take this lightly; the words had to be perfect. The book now being passed to her to fill its pages, May felt the duty of continuing in the spirit of her grandfather's record of prayers.
She had started just as she was told: the date first, then her request. “Your prayer ought to be focused, like a bullet,” her grandfather used to say. “Stop this nonsense of praying for everything and anything just because you think you should. Pray what's on your heart. That's what God's gonna hear best anyway.”
“Grandpa!” May remembered scolding him when she was younger. “I can't leave other people out just to pray for what I want.”
He just smiled wisely and winked. “Then they're on your heart, aren't they? If you can't leave them out of your prayers, that's when you know you care. Remember that. You'll know how much you love by how much you pray. But don't pray for what you don't care about just to avoid feeling guilty. And if you do feel guilty, just care more so you can pray more. Be focused!”
With the words she had written still imprinted in her mind, she turned to gaze out her window at the cool spring scenery that made up the setting of her 21st birthday. The Maine countryside was barely beginning to blush with the buds of new birth. The air held that comforting scent of day-old rain, that aura she loved about living in the country.
“His will,” she whispered. A few moments of silent meditation followed. Then, turning back to her book, she picked up her pen.
But what is it? Jesus prayed for it, but even He had the privilege of knowing what the Lord's will was. What? Should I refrain from praying for what I want, lest it not be what God wants? If I am always to pray for His will, then why spend time in prayer at all? Why not simply pray, “Thy will,” and be done?
May stopped again, somewhat surprised at the phrases appearing on her page. Of course, honesty was one of the points of a journal.
She inhaled a sigh, and with it a flowery aroma. May smiled. She reached for the tulip she had placed in the small vase atop her writing desk and withdrew it. It was a gift from earlier that day, a birthday present like her journal. This present was from Richie, the “new boy” at church. He'd just been saved for a few months, but most of the girls her age had already taken notice to him. He had been so sweet; he had heard it was her birthday and was embarrassed he had nothing to give her, so he ran to find the first flower he had seen of the season. He was trying so hard to fit in with them.
That was why he gave it to her. Nothing more. Right?
May laughed at herself and placed the flower back in its place in the vase.
I guess I'd be lying if I said my real request was selfless. Indeed, aren't most prayer's of “Thy will” born of a selfish desire? I know what I want, and I want God to give it to me, and somehow tagging His will at the end makes me feel more comfortable praying for it. May looked back at the top of her page. I guess I've tagged His will at the beginning.
May mused over that sentence for a moment, then her pen continued.
Maybe that's how it should be. Truly, was not Christ's request for Himself? Not all requests for ourselves are selfish or wrong. He was our example. If He can pray that way, so can I.
Richie's face from earlier that day came to mind. May shook her head. It all seemed so foolish. Sure, he was handsome, but he was a newborn as a Christian. He was just a couple years older than her; that was prime age for the war Congress had just declared against Germany a month prior. And honestly, she knew him very little.
But she also felt something more. The things that attracted her to him were not the petty characteristics of infatuation. She saw in him a heart, bold and strong and unashamed. It seemed already tempered against the inevitable dim of the revival flame, as if a constant coal instead of a dying bonfire. She liked that. More than anything else about him, she liked that.
So again, I say, “His will.” And I mean it. Until I find it, I'll keep praying it. And I am going to get to know my Lord even more so I can find His will, and then continue to pray for it.
But Lord, just one thing? A little time to talk with him tomorrow night at church would be wonderful. Of course, if it's Your will, that is.