What shall we ask God to do?

(J.R. Miller, "The Glory of the Commonplace")

"We do not know what we should pray for as we ought" Romans 8:26

A minister sat with a father and mother by the bed of a child, who was hovering between life and death. He was about to pray for the little sufferer, and turning to the parents he asked, "What shall we ask God to do?" After some moments the father answered, with deep emotion: "I would not dare to choose. Leave it to God."

Would it not be better always to leave the decision to God, letting Him choose what it is best for Him to do for us or to give to us? We are not in the world to always have ease and pleasure, to always succeed, to do great things — we are here to grow into strength and beauty of life and character, to accomplish the will of God, and to have that will wrought out in our own life. Ofttimes . . .
  the present must be sacrificed for the future,
  the earthly given up to gain the Heavenly, and
  pain endured for the sake of spiritual refining and enriching.
Christ does not seek to take away the burden — rather, He would make us strong and brave to bear it.

If we are willing to let God choose for us, and accept what He gives — we shall never fail to receive the best. Perhaps not what the world would call the best — but always God's best. We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, and we had better leave it to God.

We should be content to leave the guidance and choices of our lives in His hands. Think how wise He is — knowing all things, knowing how to choose the best for us. Who does not know that this is better, safer, wiser than if we were to choose the way for ourselves?

The truest prayer is ofttimes that in which we creep into the bosom of God and rest there in silence. We do not know what to ask, and we dare not say even a word, lest it might be the wrong word, hence we simply wait before God in quietness and confidence. We know that what is best — our Father will do, and we trust Him to do what He will.

We are sure that God could relieve us of the things which are so hard for us to bear — could, if He desired to. This is God's world, and nothing can get out of His hands. All we have to do is to lay our need before the throne of mercy, and to let God answer us as He will.

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A beautiful story is told of a devout home in which were twin boys who were greatly beloved. In the absence of the father, both boys suddenly died. When the father returned, not knowing of the sorrow in his home, the mother met him at the door and said, "I have had a strange visitor since you went away."

"Who was it?" asked the father, not suspecting her meaning.

"Five years ago," his wife answered, "a friend lent me two precious jewels. Yesterday he came and asked me to return them to him. What shall I do?"

"Are they his?" asked the father, not dreaming of her meaning.

"Yes, they belong to him and were only lent to me."

"If they are his, he must have them again, if he desires."

Leading her husband to the boys' room, the wife drew down the sheet, uncovering the lovely forms, as white as marble. "These are my jewels," said the mother. "Five years ago God lent them to me, and yesterday He came and took them back again."


"Going a little farther, He fell with his face to the ground and prayed: My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will — but as You will." Matthew 26:39

"O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it — may Your will be done." Matthew 26:42

"The Lord's will be done!" Acts 21:14