Some years ago, a friend was sharing with me about some deep and profoundly painful struggles she had been experiencing. One thing after another was falling apart in her life—her health, her dreams for a family, her church relationships. And then she said the strangest thing.
“I can trace it all back to the day I prayed one single prayer: Lord, I want to be Yours. I want to be in heaven with You. Please do whatever it takes to get me there.”
Whatever it takes.
Whatever pain. Whatever loss. Whatever challenges or struggles or anguish.
Lord, you know my heart better than I know it myself. You know what lessons I need to learn. You know what rough edges need to be chiseled away. You know how hot the fire must be to refine me into pure gold.
I remember sitting there with her and thinking to myself, Am I brave enough to pray that prayer? What if I do, and then everything goes crazy? Can I handle it? Would it destroy me? Am I strong enough?
But then, I also found myself wandering down another line of questions—equally disturbing and perhaps even more urgent.
What if I don’t pray this prayer? What if my fears of the unknown cause me to settle for a life of mediocrity and insignificance? Does clinging to the status quo mean I am actually setting limits on my own potential for spiritual, emotional, and relational growth?
And so I chose to be a little bit brave. Just courageous enough to squeak out the words: Whatever it takes, Jesus. Do whatever it takes.
It’s a prayer I’ve prayed at the beginning of each year since. Let this new year be about You, not about me. Help me to absorb and internalize the lessons You have for me in this new year. Please don’t let me convince myself that I have it all together, or that I’m doing okay without You, or that I don’t need Your daily guidance.
Last year was a tough one, I won’t deny it. Last year brought some of the most devastating realizations and the most overwhelming temptations of my adult life. But Jesus doesn’t quit when we’re devastated or overwhelmed. Those moments are when His strength is most profound. If only we are willing to get out of His way, He will do His work in our hearts and souls.
Praying like this doesn’t mean we automatically have all the answers. As someone who really likes to have all my ducks color-coded and organized by height in a neat little row, that’s hard for me to accept.
Praying this prayer does mean that we give God permission to crank up the thermostat on our lives until He gets us at the optimal temperature for refining. And if I strip away all the other nonsense, refining is what I want—deep down inside.
Because, more than anything else, I want to spend eternity with Jesus. And so, again this year, I’m praying, Whatever it takes, God. Whatever it takes.
Will you be praying it too?