Do you pray for what you want, or what God wants for you?

Nalini Jayasuriya, Silence (The Worshiper)

Nalini Jayasuriya, Silence (The Worshiper)

It had been a really frustrating time for Executive Assistant Pamela Sola. As the person responsible for preparing visa papers for OMSC’s international visitors, she took visa denials personally. Most of those who applied for the study program had received visas and were already attending the seminars. But there was one application that had been denied. At community worship Pam asked everyone to pray that the visa would be granted. After making this request, a missionary from Guinea-Bissau pulled her aside and said, “I don’t think you should have made that prayer request.”

Pam says, “I was stunned, and asked Valberto what he meant. He replied very simply, ‘Perhaps God has other plans for him.’”

Valberto’s words were like a much-needed wake up call for Pam. “In my frustration that my work had not been successful,” she says, “I had forgotten that God’s plans were bigger than mine. Somehow it had never occurred to me that He might have other plans in mind for our friend.”

Although this incident occurred many years ago, Pam credits Valberto’s response with changing the way she thinks about prayer. She says, “Whenever I pray I am reminded of those seven words. Centering my prayers on God, instead of myself, has made a world of difference.”