Sometimes it is easier to suffer ourselves than to watch someone we love suffer. And it may be easier to thank God for our own difficulties than to thank Him for the hardships of those we love. We naturally want to spare our loved ones any pain.
God brought this to Betty's attention as she prayed for her sister to have the child she longed for. For ten years, her sister longed for a baby. As the months and years drug on, piling disappointment on disappointment, Betty's heart broke with her. Her prayers were constantly beseeching God to give her sister a baby.
One morning God brought it to Betty's attention that her prayers for her sister were very different from her prayers for her own difficulties. God had taught her to thank Him in every circumstance in her life, good or bad. He had shown her over and over how everything works together for good. She was so intent on sparing her sister pain that Betty was not thanking God for her circumstance, knowing that He already had the answer prepared, the timing planned, and that He was at work in her life redemptively. Betty was not willing to let her walk through trials to become all that God intended.
That morning Betty began to thank God for every day of her wait. She thanked God for the baby that would be born. She thanked Him for the spiritual strength He was building in her. She thanked God for His timing.
It was still several years before the baby daughter came. Betty believes her thanksgiving allowed her to cooperate with God through intercession. It changed her outlook and released her to pray in the Spirit instead of in her own wisdom.
Thank You, Jesus, for teaching us how to pray the prayers that please You.
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers (Eph. 1:16).