We love asking God for things. We pray and beg and follow up our requests with the phrase, “If it’s your will, Lord, Amen.” Then, if things don’t work out we are devastated. Everyone knows that feeling — the despair when something we want so badly just doesn’t happen.
It’s hard to find peace in the midst of our disappointment. And I don’t know what kind of person you are, but I am one of those “ready, fire, aim” people. I jump in feet first without much of a plan, and when I want something I go after it with all of my being. Just try to get in my way, I dare you.
I tend to ignore warning signs; those little whispers from God that suggest I’m stepping away from what He wants. If I want something badly enough I get tunnel vision, and I know I’m not the only one.
I inherited my passion from my mom, and when I was in middle school I saw her lose something that she wanted more than I’d ever seen her want anything before. She was upset, but still so at peace. I was surprised at her reaction, and her explanation forever altered my prayer life and changed my way of thinking.
My mom told me that she prayed and asked God for a brick wall. She hit a point where she was so close to getting what she desperately wanted and she knew nothing would make her want to give it up. So, she told God what was on her heart. She expressed her yearning and desire. Then she told him that she knew she was past the point of noticing any red flags.
She prayed that, if this wasn’t in his will for her and her family, God would throw up a brick wall; some obstacle so insurmountable that she couldn’t get past it, therefore keeping her from making a mistake that she may not even recognize. God answered her prayer. Instead of being angry, she thanked God for stopping her from stepping outside of his will, and I’ve never forgotten how at peace she was.
Ever since then, whenever I want something so badly that I can’t trust my own heart, I ask God for a Brick Wall. We tend to seek God’s will in a way that implies we need to take action, but what if it’s inaction that puts us on the path God asks of us? Not all decisions are black or white, good or bad. Sometimes something that appears good can be placed in front of us, but not all good things are part of God’s plan for our lives.
I believe this prayer has made me more aware, and I believe it has helped me cultivate a sense of peace when things don’t go the way I expect. It helped open my eyes to dangerous relationships (although due to my own stubbornness that took longer in some instances than in others). It helped keep me from becoming inconsolably overwhelmed and lost when my first chosen career path didn’t work out. Incidentally, I’ve never been more passionate about anything than I am about my students, and teaching was not part of my original plan.
Let me be clear, there is no “magic prayer” that can keep us from making the wrong decision. I would also like to clarify that this is something that helps me when I am faced with a decision and my own desires are preventing me from thinking clearly or even caring if what I want is in God’s plan for me. If you are praying for a lost loved one, if you are struggling to have a child, if you are having trouble finding a job — these are not the kind of brick walls I’m talking about and my heart aches for you. The Brick Wall Prayer is simply a way of searching our hearts and trusting God to change any selfish motives.
It’s for when you are offered that promotion that you’ve wanted for years, or when you are about to buy your dream home, or when you start dating someone new. It’s to remind us that God is in control, and sometimes we can’t trust our own desires. Of course that doesn’t mean our desires are always wrong, and sometimes what we long for in our hearts is right on par with what God wants for us. This prayer is just a way of handing control over to the Lord and Savior of our lives and acknowledging our own human weaknesses.
I’m not claiming to have the answers. I don’t know what I’m doing any more than anyone else does, but this prayer helps give me peace. It helps me remember that God is sovereign and always in control. It keeps me in check and redirects my focus on more than just my own desires. This prayer is about re-directing your thoughts and heart more than it is about hoping for supernatural intervention.
God knows what he's doing. Sometimes I forget, but he has a plan. I struggle with figuring out what that plan is most of the time, but one step I will never leave out is the Brick Wall Prayer. God knows my heart. He knows what I desire. He wouldn't withhold something out of spite. He has plans to "prosper [me] and not to harm [me], to give [me] a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). I challenge you to take this prayer, mold it to fit your own life, and see how it changes your perspective.
The Brick Wall Prayer (A Prayer to Know God’s Will)
God, you know me better than I know myself. You know my fears and my desires. You know how much I want this. You know how much I will be devastated if this doesn't happen. I know you love me. I know you have a plan for me. Please, Lord, don't let my desires blind me to your will. If this is not within your plan for me, throw up a Brick Wall. Give me an obstacle I cannot get past. Help me follow your will, Father. Give me peace about whatever is to come. If this falls through, I will know it is your hand.
Thank you for loving me,
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Rachel-Claire Cockrell is a wife, a writer, and a high school English teacher. She is passionate about her students and does her best to exemplify the love of Christ to those kids who may not experience it anywhere else. She and her husband live in Arkansas. Follow her blog at http://rachelclaireunworthy.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook.