Prayer For Sufficient Grace To Stop Smoking
Christ’s Power Is Made Perfect in Weakness
One of the reasons biblical Christianity has to be so drastically distorted in order to sell it to mass markets is that the market wants power to escape weakness in leisure, but Christianity offers power to endure weakness in love.
Verse 9 just doesn’t sell: “Jesus said [in response to Paul’s prayer], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
’” In weakness? What the market wants is escape from weakness, not power in weakness. But to meet that felt need in the market the message must be distorted — and often is.
But by distorting the message to make it more immediately appealing, two things are lost:
The truth of the message is lost.
The chance to meet the really deep need that we all have in the midst of adversity is lost.
So what I want to do — for the sake of God’s truth and for the sake of meeting your deepest need — is lay open this text with as little distortion as possible. You have it in front of you. You be the judge.
Three Questions About Christian Weakness
We are going to talk about the Christian experience of weakness. There are three questions to answer in the time we have:
“The grace and power of Jesus makes affliction livable.”
What are the weaknesses that Paul has in mind here when he says, “The power of Christ is made perfect in weakness”?
What is the source of such weaknesses? Do they come from Satan or from God? Or both?
What is the purpose of such weaknesses? Is there a goal or an aim for why the weaknesses come?
I ask these three questions not only because they are the ones answered in the text, but because knowing these things and being reminded of them in our hearts as God’s truth will give us the strength to live and endure and often even to thrive in the midst ofmany weaknesses.
Bringing the Questions Closer to Home
Just to bring it closer to home, on Wednesday we had a really good all church strategy meeting. One of the songs we sang has a chorus that goes this:
Since Jesus came into my heart, Floods of joy o’er my soul the sea billows roll
Since Jesus came into my heart.
As we sang it, I wondered how everyone in the chapel was processing that statement in the light of real life experience when sea billows of joy do not roll over the soul.
Here’s how I fit it in my own experience: Yes, since knowing Jesus, joy has rolled over me the waves of the sea, but not always. There are times when the tide goes out.God is still God; joy is still joy; but I am baking in the seaweed on the beach waiting for the tide to come in.
What makes days and months and years that livable is the grace and power of Jesus described in our text.
1. What Weaknesses?
What are the weaknesses Paul has in mind here when he quotes Jesus as saying in verse 9, “My power is made perfect in weakness”? And then says, “I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses”? And then again in verse 10 says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses”?
Four Other Words to Fill Out the Meaning
I think the safest way to answer is to let the four other words in verse 10 fill out what he has in mind. What he summarizes as weaknesses in verse 9 he spells out in four other words in verse 10: insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
Insults — when people think of clever ways of making your faith or your lifestyle or your words look stupid or weird or inconsistent. When we were giving out “Finding Your Field of Dreams” at the stadium, I heard one man say mockingly, “And the Lord said, Play ball.” And all his friends laughed.
Hardships — circumstances forced upon you, reversals of fortune against your will. This could refer to any situation where you feel trapped. You didn’t plan it or think it would be this way, but there you are, and it’s hard.
Persecutions — wounds or abuses or painful circumstances or acts of prejudice or exploitation from people because of your Christian faith or your Christian moral commitments. It’s when you are not treated fairly. You get a raw deal.
Calamities (or distresses or difficulties or troubles) — the idea is one of pressure or crushing or being weighed down; circumstances that tend to overcome you with stress and tension.
Not Sin or Imperfect Behaviors
So you can see that what Paul has in mind here is not sin. He is not talking about a kind of behavior — we might say he has a weakness for lust; or she has a weakness for overeating.
Paul is not talking about bad choices that we make. He is not saying the power of Christ is perfected in my bad choices. Or, I will all the more gladly boast of my bad choices.
Weaknesses here are not imperfect behaviors.
What These Weaknesses Are
They are circumstances and situations and experiences and wounds that make us look weak; things we would probably get rid of if we had the human strength.
If we were “strong,” we might return the insult with such an effective put down that the opponent would wither and everyone would admire our wit and cleverness.
If we were “strong,” we might take charge of our own fortune and turn back the emerging hardship and change circumstances so that they go the way we want them to and not force us into discomfort.
If we were “strong,” we might turn back the persecution so quickly and so decisively that no one would mess with us again.
If we were “strong,” we might use our resources to get the calamity or distress as fast as possible, or take charge of the situation and marshal our own resources so masterfully as to minimize its pressure.
“God does not delight in your suffering. Satan does, and he must be resisted.”
But in reality, we don’t usually have that kind of human strength, and even when we may have it, Christians don’t use it the way the world does. Jesus tells us not to return evil for evil (Matthew 5:38–42).
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:12–13, “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.” And then he added, “We have become the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things.
” In other words, this kind of lifestyle, this kind of response to abuse, looks weak and beggarly and feeble and anemic and inept — at least it looks that way to those who thrive on pride and equate power with the best come back.
So the answer to our first question is that weaknesses are not sins, but experiences and situations and circumstances and wounds that are hard to bear and that we can’t remove either because they are beyond our control or because love dictates that we not return evil for evil.
2. Where Do They Come From?
What is the source of such weaknesses? Do they come from Satan or from God? Or both?
Paul’s ‘Thorn in the Flesh’
Let’s take Paul’s thorn in the flesh as an example and see what his answer is. In verses 1–4, Paul describes what amazing revelations of God’s glory he had been given — he was caught up into paradise and heard things that cannot be told on earth.
How easy it would have been for Paul to think that he was already rising above the ordinary hardships and troubles of earthly life because he was given such a privilege.But verse 7 shows what actually happened: “To keep me from being too elated [RSV; a bettertranslation would be: “to keep me from exalting myself,” NASB, or: “to keep me from becoming conceited,” NIV] by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from exalting myself.”
Now this thorn in the flesh (whether it was some physical problem or some relentless enemies) is one of the weaknesses he is talking about. We know this because when he prays that God would take it away in verse 8 (“three times I besought the Lord”), the Lord answers in verse 9, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” So the thorn in the flesh is one of the weaknesses we are talking about.
A ‘Messenger of Satan’
And where did it come from? Paul calls it a “messenger of Satan” (v. 7) given to harass him. So one clear answer is that some weaknesses come from Satan. Satan afflicts the children of God through his angels or messengers. His aim is destruction and deathand misery.
But it is not that simple is it? Satan is not the only one at work here. God is at work. This thorn is not just the work of Satan to destroy. It is the work of God to save.
The Work of God to Save
We know this for two reasons. First, because Paul describes the purpose for the thorn in terms of preventing pride. But Satan’s whole design is to produce pride not prevent it. That’s how he kills: either with pride in what we have done, or despair over what we haven’t done.
Paul’s revelations in paradise made him vulnerable to pride and self-exaltation. So God uses the hostile intentions of Satan for Paul’s holiness. Satan wanted to make Paul miserable and turn him away from the faith and the ministry and the value of the visions he had seen. But God wanted to make Paul humble and turn him away from self-exaltation.
So God appointed the thorn of Satan for the work of salvation.
The other reason we know the thorn is God’s work and not just Satan’s is that when Paul prays in verse 8 that God would take the thorn away, the Lord says, “No, because my power is made perfect in this weakness.” In other words, I have a purpose in what is happening to you. This is not ultimately Satan’s destroying work. It is ultimately my saving, sanctifying work.
Just it was with Job — God permits Satan to afflict his righteous servant, and turns the affliction for his good purposes. (See also Luke 22:31–32.)
The Truth of God’s Sovereign Grace
So the answer to our second question is that the source of our weaknesses may sometimes be Satan and his destructive designs for us; but always our weaknesses are designed by God for our good.
This is why the truth of God’s sovereign grace is so precious in the midst of hardship and calamity. God is in control of Satan. Satan does nothing to God’s children that God does not design with infinite skill and love for our good.
This brings us to the final question, which we have already answered.
3. For What Purpose?
What is the purpose of such weaknesses? Is there a goal or an aim for why the weaknesses come? Why insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities, troubles? Why can’t I find a job? Why am I trapped in this awful marriage? Why does my dad have cancer? Why can’t I have children? Why do I have no friends? Why is nothing working in my life?
“God appointed the thorn of Satan for the work of salvation.”
Paul gives three brief answers about his own experience and I think they are tremendously important for us to live by.
Satan’s Purpose to Buffet You
First, he says that Satan has the purpose to buffet you or harass you (v. 7). And so it is ok to pray for relief. That’s what Paul did until he got word from the Lord. Pain is not a good thing in itself. God does not delight in your suffering. Satan does, and he must be resisted.
God’s Purpose to Humble You
Second, God’s purpose over and through Satan’s harassment is our humility. Paul was in danger of pride and self-exaltation and God took steps to keep him humble. This is an utterly strange thing in our self-saturated age. God thinks humility is more important than comfort.
Humility is more important than freedom from pain. He will give us a mountaintop experience in paradise, and then bring us through anguish of soul lest we think that we have risen above the need for total reliance on his grace.
So his purpose is our humility and lowliness and reliance on him (2 Corinthians 1:9; 4:7).
God’s Purpose to Glorify Jesus
Finally, God’s purpose in our weaknesses is to glorify the grace and power of his Son. This is the main point of verses 9–10. Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
” God’s design is to make you a showcase for Jesus’s power. But not necessarily the way the market demands: not by getting rid of all our weaknesses; but by giving strength to endure and even rejoice in tribulation.
Let God be God here. If he wills to show the perfection of his Son’s power in our weakness instead of by our escape from weakness, then he knows best; trust him. Hebrews 11 is a good guide here.
It says that by faith some escaped the edge of the sword (Hebrews 11:34) and by faith some were killed by the sword (Hebrews 11:37). By faith some stopped the mouths of lions, and by faith others were sawn asunder.By faith some were mighty in war, and by faith others suffered chains and imprisonment (see also Philippians 4:11–13).
The ultimate purpose of God in our weakness is to glorify the kind of power that moved Christ to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done. Paul said that Christ crucified was foolishness to the Greeks, a stumbling block to the Jews, but to those who are called it is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23).
The deepest need that you and I have in weakness and adversity is not quick relief, but the well-grounded confidence that what is happening to us is part of the greatest purpose of God in the universe — the glorification of the grace and power of his Son — thegrace and power that bore him to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done. That’s what God is building into our lives. That is the meaning of weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamity.
10 Prayers for Healing — Praying for Strength, Recovery & Comfort
Are you facing a difficult disease, illness or malady and want to cry out to God for healing but don't know what to pray? If you feel scared, alone, unsure of the future, or don't understand how healing works, pray these words below in faith today! Below are ten healing prayers, an interview with Max Lucado explaining how we should pray for healing, and some of our favorite Bible verses on healing.
God tells us that through prayer, He can speak to us and use us to work miracles for His glory. When you use this prayer for healing you are coming to God completely surrendered and expectant to let His Holy Spirit work in and through you. I pray that you will find miraculous healing as you seek God's plan for your life — His plan to prosper you and to give you a hope and future!
1. A Prayer for Personal Healing
God, you know me so well. You created me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and you even know the thoughts conceived in my heart before I ever vocalize them. You've told us to come to you and ask for every need of life. You are Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, and you have the final word on my destiny, the number of years I'll live and serve you on earth.
I'm coming to you today as your child, longing to hear from you and asking for your divine healing. There's so much I don't understand about life. But I do know that with one touch, one word, you can make me whole. Please forgive me of my sins, cleanse me of my unrighteousness, and begin your healing from the inside out.
I don't always know what your will is Lord, especially in times now, when I desperately seek your face. I offer you no promises, no bargains, no deals to exchange for my health.
I simply bow my heart before you to tell you the desire of my heart: that I want to spend as many years as I can loving you here, loving others, and wanting to become more you. However you choose to accomplish that is up to you—and okay with me.
If you use doctors to provide healing, give them wisdom to know what to do. Regardless of how you accomplish it, the healing you give is always miraculous. And you deserve all the praise.
I absolutely believe you have the power to heal. You demonstrated that on earth, and you still heal in miraculous ways today.
Even when my faith is weak, you say it is enough, and my love for you is strong. And I know you already hold my heart and life in your hands. It's up to you.If I can bring you more glory through healing, then that's what I ask for. That's what I desire.
But if your answer is no, or not now, I know that your grace is sufficient for me. Ultimately, I want your will to be my will. I look forward to spending an eternity with you.
But Lord, if you have planned still more for me to do here on this earth, I not only need and want your physical healing, Lord, but a thorough, deep-down cleansing and strengthening—a whole-hearted renewal of all that I am. Because all that I am is yours.
Use this trial to strengthen me from a «what-if» faith to a «no-matter-what» faith. And no matter what, I choose to honor you and give you glory. In Jesus's name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
2. A Short Prayer for Healing for Friends
Lord, your Word speaks promises of healing and restoration and I thank you for the miracles you still perform today. Today I claim those promises over my friend.
I believe in the healing power of faith and prayer and I ask you to begin your mighty work in the life of my friend. Please reach down and surround my friend with supernatural peace and strength and give her the faith to believe that all things are possible for you.
Protect her from Satan's lies and discouragement and let her miraculous healing begin. Amen.
3. A Prayer for Healing and Grace
We confess our need for you today. We need your healing and your grace. We need hope restored. We need to be reminded that you work on behalf of those you love, constantly, powerfully, completely. Forgive us for trying to fix our situations all on our own.
Forgive us for running all different directions and spinning our wheels to find help, when true help and healing must be found first in You. Forgive us for forgetting how much we need you, above everyone and everything else. We come to you and bring you the places we are hurting.
You see where no one else is able to fully see or understand. You know the pain we've carried. The burdens. The cares. You know where we need to be set free. We ask for your healing and grace to cover every broken place. Every wound. Every heartache.
Thank you that you are Able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for your Mighty Power that acts on behalf of your children. We reach out to you, and know that you are restoring and redeeming every place of difficulty, every battle, for your greater glory.
Thank you that you will never waste our pain and suffering. We love you. We need you today. In Jesus' Name, Amen ~ Debbie McDaniel
4. A Prayer for Healing Sick Family and Friends
Lord Jesus, thank you that you love [name of person who needs healing]. I know that you hate what their illness is doing to them/me. I ask that you would heal this disease, that you would have compassion and bring healing from all sickness.
Your word says in Psalm 107:19-20 that when we call out to you the Eternal one you will give the order, heal and rescue us from certain death.
In the Bible, I have read of miraculous healing and I believe that you still heal the same way today.I believe that there is no illness you cannot heal after all the bible tells of you raising people from the dead so I ask for your healing in this situation.
I also know from my experience of life on earth that not everyone is healed. If that happens here than keep my heart soft towards you, help me to understand your plan and help me to be excited about heaven.
God, I thank you that [name of person who needs healing] belongs to you and that you are in control of everything that happens from our first breath to our last sigh. Amen. ~ Wendy van Eyck
5. A Prayer to Heal the Hurt
Father, help me get my focus back on you. I know I need to stop dwelling on my hurts and frustrations. Help me be faithful in prayer and put my hope in you. May the Holy Spirit guide and comfort and strengthen me. In Jesus' name, Amen. ~ Living Free Every Day Devotional
6. A Prayer for Forgiveness
Dear God, I’m sorry for my sin. I ______________ (what you did), which was a sin against you, as well as a sin against __________ (who you hurt). Please help me turn from this behavior.
I will begin ________________ (how you’ll change) instead of what I have done. Please forgive me and help me to grow in my relationship to you and _________, whom I’ve hurt. Thank you for your love and mercy.
Thank you for forgiving me and choosing to forget my sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ~ Sue Schlesman
7. A Prayer for Those Who Feel Wounded
Dear God, We feel wounded, betrayed, and brokenhearted. We wonder sometimes if we can ever fully recover from the deep hurt we feel inside. Thank you that you know what we’ve been through and the struggles we still carry. Help us to forgive.
Help us to let go. We know that we can move forward with you in peace and freedom. We pray for those who have hurt us right now, and ask for your power to work mightily within their lives.
We leave them in your hands and find our comfort and strength in your spirit.
Thank you that you understand all that we’ve faced, that you see and you care. We ask that when the enemy taunts us with lies and tries to bring up the hurt of the past, you would silence his voice and allow us to walk free.
We bring you all the stuff that he would use to try to trap us or stop us — the pain, the past, the mistakes, the struggles. And we lay it at your feet, again. Thank you for your healing, for your grace, for your hope. Thank you that you have set us free and will not waste the pain that we’ve carried.
We look forward to the greater good and purpose you will bring through this struggle.
We love you Lord, we need you, we trust you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Debbie McDaniel
8. A Prayer to Heal a Struggling Relationship
Dear God, I struggle in my relationship with ______. I need You to give me wisdom on how to love ____ well. You are my shield and defender. Show me how, when and where to erect boundaries in our relationship. I believe You are my healer and I trust You to guard my heart and mind. I need Your specific directions on how to interact with ______.
I want to love _____ with a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5) I forgive ______ for hurting me and forgive me for ______. Help me to love ______ courageously.Fill me with Your truth and compel me to fearlessly tell the truth with love. Let Your perfect love cast out all of my fears related to our relationship. I surrender what I think our relationship should be.
Please transform it so that it honors You. In Jesus, I pray. Amen ~ Jennifer O. White
9. A Prayer for When Time Doesn't Heal a Broken Heart
Lord, please heal my broken heart. Fill me with the peace and joy I know can only come from You during this hard time. Walk closely beside me during my journey to healing and recovery that I know is possible through Your power alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Tracie Miles
10. A Prayer to Heal from Depression
Lord, it seems as if my world has collapsed, hurling me into a deep, dark pit. I come to you in complete surrender. I am desperate for you, helpless and afraid. Please lift me this pit and show me the way, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen ~ Mary Southerland
Healing Bible Verses
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
He said to her, «Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.»
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
More Healing Scripture
What are you praying for healing over today? Join our large praying community in the comments below and experience the power, hope and healing that comes when you allow others to cover you in prayer.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Good Night Prayers
The Lord's Prayer
A Birthday Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
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