Don’t just pray for relief or deliverance. Pray for God to turn a bad situation on its head.
This summer has been an eventful one for my family—and not in a good way. A ruptured water line. Unexpected (and unwelcome) expenses. Delayed income. Goodbyes. Sickness. Even death.
On the upside, the run of bad news has given me an opportunity to revive a prayer practice I had neglected. I call it “turnaround” praying.
Most of us, when misfortune occurs, pray for relief or deliverance. That is natural, and it’s a good way to pray.
After all, the psalmist David prayed, “Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me” (Psalm 70:1, NLT). And “Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me” (Psalm 40:13, NLT).
I pray those kinds of prayers a lot. But sometimes I have the presence of mind—and the faith—to pray differently.
I may start with prayers like those, but I continue in my praying to say something like, “God, turn this whole situation around. Where there is now confusion, bring understanding. Where now there is only pain and suffering, turn it into an occasion for amazement and joy and bring glory to Your name!”
At such times, I remember the patriarch Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers—a hopeless situation if there ever was one (see Genesis 37). But God turned things around and made Joseph the means by which many lives—including his brothers’ lives—were saved.
I remember Moses, whose murderous rage sent him into exile (see Exodus 2). But there he found not only a wife and family, but also a calling, one that turned him from a fugitive into a deliverer of his people.
I remember also Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus fell ill and died—a situation that must have seemed pretty final (see John 11). But they appealed to Jesus, who turned things around for them in a dramatic way, calling Lazarus out of his own tomb and back into his sisters’ arms.
“Turnaround” prayers do more than ask God to fix something, they ask Him to turn a situation on its head and bring beauty from ashes, blessing from disappointment, glory from gloom.
So try it. Don’t just ask God to heal you, ask Him to turn your affliction around and make it an occasion for rejoicing. Don’t simply request relief, ask for a 180-degree reversal of the situation, one that will bring glory to God.
Don’t merely pray for a solution to a problem, pray for a story to tell your grandchildren. Pray “turnaround prayers” and see if your faith and God’s faithfulness combine to do something special in answer to your prayers.