“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Have you ever prayed one of those let’s-make-a-deal prayers?  They are those desperate negotiations with God.  If you will just let me get through this situation, then I’ll do

As you’ve likely discovered, God doesn’t negotiate. But Paul had an important insight about prayer that can help us understand God’s perspective about our prayers during difficult circumstances.

“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus… Now, may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. The one who is calling you is faithful and will do this” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23-24).

Most of us would probably prefer that Paul had written: The one who is calling you is faithful, and he will do (whatever you ask him to do).  It seems like a fair swap: in exchange for our devotion to God, God will devote himself to changing our circumstances.  

But Paul wasn’t saying that because God is faithful he will change every negative circumstance.  Paul explained that God desires to grow our faith so that we are thankful in every situation, under all circumstances.

God is faithful to make us completely dedicated to him. Paul didn’t say that your complete devotion to God will change your circumstances, rather that God’s complete devotion to you will change YOU.  Your heart and body will be changed to be more and more like Jesus. And because God is faithful and completely devoted to you, you WILL be changed.

Just as C.S. Lewis reminded us, God loves us even when we are partially devoted to him, but he loves us too much to leave us there. Scripture reveals that God loves delivering his people from desperate circumstances. But we also see that God wants more.  

God became flesh in Jesus to work miracles in the human heart.  He is acting in you and through you, not just for you. God takes great satisfaction in making you, your heart and body, more and more like Jesus.  This is the far greater miracle that Jesus came to begin in you.  Our Creator is more committed to what he is doing in us than what he is doing through us or for us, and he uses difficult experiences to work on us.  And because he is faithful, he will finish the good, miraculous work he begins.


  1. What situation(s) are you asking God to change? What do you think he might be teaching you in the midst of uncomfortable, even painful circumstances?
  2. How is you soul (your heart/inner self)? Your body? What is a step Jesus might be inviting you to take to even more fully devote your whole self to him?


  • Devote you whole self, your soul, your body, your whole life to Jesus, who is wholly devoted to you.
  • Trust in the process. Soul transformation is a process that requires grace, first from Jesus’ unlimited supply and second from you to yourself.
  • Rejoice and give thanks for your circumstances. Ask Jesus to make you more and more like him in the midst of your situation.