Due to various recent life circumstances, it seems that the Lord has been answering an exciting prayer of mine. In his book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Tim Keller writes that “God will either give us what we ask, or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything He knows.” Sometimes, the Lord answers prayer in ways that don’t make sense to me, and can often be painful. Every time, the Lord answers with perfect wisdom, for my everlasting joy in Christ.
A couple years ago, I learned a terrifying and liberating prayer. Over the past couple years, I’ve prayed it and thought about it, and I sum it up this way:
Lord, whatever the cost, fill me with all the fullness of God, that Your own love would be my love, that Your own peace would be my peace, and that Your own joy would be my joy, whatever the cost to me. I know it’s worth it. I pray that the love of Christ – the selfless love that lays down on a cross for the sins of others – that His love would be my love. I pray that the peace of Christ – the peace that existed between the Father and the Son from all eternity past and forevermore, the peace that was purchased at the cross to reconcile sinners to a holy God – that His peace would be my peace. And I pray that the joy of Christ – the joy that was set before Christ for which He endured the cross – that His joy would be my joy.
Whatever the cost, it’s worth it. Your will be done, Father, on earth as it is in heaven.
That is a terrifying prayer. And it’s also absolutely liberating. When the Lord answers that prayer, it may hurt and make no sense to me. But it is working in me an eternal weight of glory (Romans 8:18). And the Lord will be there to sustain and bless me with depths of love, peace, and joy that I had not known before. I’d encourage you to pray this prayer, and to seek God’s love, peace, joy, and freedom.
If you pray like this, do not be surprised by the real pain when the Lord answers (1 Peter 4:12). And do not be surprised by the true joy when the Lord satisfies you with Himself. He has new depths of joy for us from the everlasting extent of His own joy in Christ.
I first started praying like that after hearing a message by John Piper in 2014. You can listen to the message here. Below, I’ve typed the piece from the end of that message that particularly impacted me:
When a vine is united to the branches, the branches do not become the all-providing vine, nor do they become the vinedresser. Nevertheless, how do they become one? Here’s what I think that we have just seen . . . John 15 is so crucial. We have Christ’s life, His joy, His peace, His love, not just because we’re in Him, but because He is in us with them. We experience His joy, His peace, His love, so that my personality, my experiences of peace, my experiences of loving, my experiences of being glad, now become His being glad in me, His loving in me, His being peaceful in me. That’s not a sharing of essence, but it is a sharing of nature. He is by nature infinitely calm, by nature infinitely loving, by nature infinitely happy, and that becomes mine in me and I in Him.
Therefore, I urge you, abide in Him. That is, keep on enjoying Him and His joy as your joy. Keep on enjoying Him and His peace as your peace. Keep on enjoying Him and His loving as your loving. And ask Him, ask Him, in prayer, in this conference, ask the Vinedresser, to cause you, whatever it costs, to be filled with all the fullness of God.
Father, that’s my prayer for myself, and I pray it for all of us now, that You would grant us the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the height and depth and length and breadth, and to know the love of Christ that passes understanding, and be filled with the fullness of God, that God’s own love would become our loving, and God’s own peace would become our peace, and God’s own joy would become our joy. I ask this in His name, amen.
I praise God for answering this prayer as He has, and I pray that He continues to answer it.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – Jeremiah 33:3