Pray For Deliverance From Adversity
My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will but as you will. (Matthew 26:39)
A spirit of humble acceptance toward God or forgiveness toward others does not mean we should not pray for deliverance from the adversities that come upon us. Scripture teaches just the opposite. A number of the psalms, for example, contain fervent prayers for deliverance from trouble. Most of all, we have the example of the Lord Jesus Himself and His prayer of deliverance in Gethsemane.
As long as the ultimate outcome of an adversity is in doubt (for example, in the case of sickness or a spiritually rebellious child), we should continue to pray, asking God to change the situation. But we should pray this in the same spirit as Jesus did- not as we will, but as God wills. We certainly must never demand of God that He change the situation.
We should also pray for deliverance from the attacks of Satan. Those attacks, like the injuries of other people or calamitous events of nature, are under the sovereign control of God. Without God’s permission, Satan cannot attack us or go beyond the limits God has set(Job 1:12, 2:6, Luke 22:31) We don’t know why, in a specific instance, God allows Satan to attack us. But sometimes the reason is that we may engage in spiritual warfare- that we may”resist the devil”.(James 4:7)
We should pray for deliverance, and we should learn to resist the attacks of Satan on the power of Jesus Christ. But we should always pray in an attitude of humble acceptance of that which is God’s will. Sometimes God’s will is deliverance from the adversity; sometimes it’s the provision of grace to accept the adversity. Trusting God for the grace to accept adversity is as much an act of faith as is trusting Him for deliverance from it.
We rarely ever know, at least initially what God’s will is when we are facing adversity so it is important that we bring every situation to God in prayer. Philippians instructs us to make our requests known to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. This I think is what gives balance to our prayer life. Jesus taught us to pray persistently in the parable of the unjust judge. There are those who either come to God demanding their way without ever asking His will. As a matter of fact there are those who imply that we can somehow bend God to our will if we say the Scriptures back to God with enough faith. At the other extreme are those who accept everything that happens in their lives as though it is the will of God. This is not what the Bible teaches nor what is modeled by Christ and the other characters of the Bible. We read that Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father on all occasions but He resisted the work and attacks of Satan. Though He was led by the Spirit to the wilderness of temptation, He resisted Satan and his offerings. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed diligently for the cup to pass but concluded His prayer with submission to the Father’s will. The apostle Paul tell us that he prayed three times for deliverance from the “thorn in the flesh” only to be told by God that rather than deliverance he would be given “sufficient grace.”
As we apply these principles to our own adversities, we find that it is in keeping that we bring our needs, burdens, cares ,fears and anxieties to God in prayer. Prayer is that great time of communicating our desires to our Father. Just as an earthly child may bring their desires to their parents, present their case, make their requests known, so we also come before God in prayer asking God to give us what we want. This is the beginning of our prayer for we do not know yet what God will do. The most difficult part of this kind of prayer is the waiting for an answer. We should not cease to bring the matter to God until He had made His decision and made that decision known to us. It is obvious that in both the case of Christ and Paul that God made known that He would not deliver them from the adversity but would go with them through it with sufficient grace. There were times in David’s life that God delivered him from the adversity and other times when God was with him in the adversity.
Once we have been given God’s decision concerning the adversity and we should not assume silence is the answer or that circumstances dictates the answer, we submit ourselves to that decision. In Paul’s case, he states that his response would be that he would “glory in his adversity” for it had taught him that “in my weakness, His strength is made perfect.” In Christ’s case, the Bible says, “who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.” Hebrews tells of those who experienced the deliverance, the supernatural intervention by God to deliver them from their adversities but it also tells of those who were not delivered and yet they are included in the “Hall of faith.”
Let us seek God, bring every matter before Him persistently until He answers and then let us submit ourselves to His will with thanksgiving.
Dr. John Thompson