The spiritual disciplines of acceptance and gratitude are easy to practice when all is going well—when the sun is shining and our relationships are fulfilling, when work is going great and the sermon on Sunday touched our hearts. But when all is not well, discontent can rear its ugly head. All of a sudden we’re no longer satisfied with our appearance, our friendships, our lives. When we’re suffering, acceptance and gratitude can seem impossible.
This series of posts will follow my inward thoughts as I go through the book Acceptance & Gratitude chapter by chapter working through the ideas listed above.
As I read Luke 17:11-19, as directed in chapter 2 of Gratitude in Acceptance & Gratitude, the above phrase immediately stood out to me. I find it peculiar that Jesus didn’t say, “Your prayer healed you,” or “Your call to me healed you,” but instead, “Your faith has healed you.” Reading this made a question bubble up within me, stirring my heart:
What is this verse saying about my posture of prayer?
The first impression that the verse has on me is one of humility. It is an example of my lack of control over the Lord’s interventions in my life. Sometimes I reach out to God in prayer, crying out to him for an intervention in my life, and he is silent or surprises me by providing for me in ways that weren’t what I had initially asked for. In these ways, the Father is mysterious, frustrating, yet also devotedly generous in beautifully unexpected ways. In the same way that the Samaritan called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” so I should also fall to my knees, not asking anything except for the Lord’s presence, providence, and especially forgiveness.
When I submit to the Lord’s will, what should be imprinted on my heart and mind during prayer are not my needs but my faith in the almighty, all-knowing Savior. By keeping my eyes on God—no matter the circumstances, good or bad—and relying on him to provide exactly what I need, I become more grateful for the aid that the Lord bestows upon me.
This action is in direct relation to faith, which is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing; belief that is not based on proof” (dictionary.com). The Lord honors us when we remember and trust him despite not being able to physically see or hear him. Praying can sometimes seem selfish; we ask for something, demanding and expecting to receive a response to our request. But bolstering our faith in Christ, remembering that he will be there for us and have mercy on us, suggests a higher method of reliance: one of absolute obedience and dependence. When we look upon Jesus’s response following the Samaritan’s plea, it makes complete sense that he would provide for this random man’s meek, loving call.