The prayers you don’t want to pray

Anna Tan
Anna Tan
May 21, 2015 · 4 min read

But you pray them anyway.

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?

Sometimes I narrow my already narrow eyes and wonder if God delights in testing his people; in holding that little dessert (because I’m not a fan of carrots) in front of their eyes and then saying, “if you love me, you won’t pursue this.”

Like not allowing Paul to preach in Asia. Like allowing Ruth’s husband to die and calling her to follow Naomi to a foreign land. Like asking Abraham to walk into the great unknown, and later on, to sacrifice Isaac. We know now that there were great blessings that flowed out of their obedience to God’s call. But that’s all in hindsight. We don’t have the benefit of hindsight in the here and now.

If you love Me, trust that I know what I’m doing.

There are a lot of good things that we want to pray for: blessings, a spouse, promotion at work, direction in life, salvation (for friends & family), protection, grace.

And then there are the things that you kind of should, but don’t really want to pray, no matter how blithely we may sing them: use me, take all of me, call me, give me Your heart, direct my path, remove him from my life.

Especially that last one. When you’ve been waiting and hoping and praying for so long.

My last crush lasted two years. And I laid him to rest because I felt God saying to let him go. Lay him on the altar. Release that stupid need to make him notice me. Besides realising the fact that he wasn’t showing any interest whatsoever.

And then I met this guy. In such a ridiculous, unexpected way, that it could only have been God. I wasn’t even planning to turn up that day. But I met him and allowed my heart run away in the midst of deciding a whole new course in life, knowing that if I were to obey the call, I might never see him again. So the heart deceives itself, hoping, wondering.

You know what it’s like.

You know how your heart says, “maybe it will work out,” even when your rational mind knows that it’s geographically (and dietarily) impossible. You know how your mind jumps to dating and engagements and weddings and (oh gosh, why! It’s all FB’s fault!) babies, even when you don’t even know for sure if he likes you the tiniest bit (which is probably a no, because if he did, you’d be able to tell, right? Maybe?). You know how your emotions run away with you over the slightest thing, trying to work out if there was any meaning behind the things he said or did not say.

Oh the winter of my heart.

And secretly you’re afraid that if you have to keep letting go, your heart will freeze over so permanently that you’ll never love again. You’re afraid of growing old alone, never knowing what it is to love and be loved in return.

Though you know that Jesus is supposed to be enough. And maybe He would be, if you could just let go.

It’s tempting to want to stay and linger, ignoring God’s call to go, because “going” would mean tying myself geographically to this place, to this now, for this moment in time, whilst “staying” would at least allow me to travel to where he is, however paradoxical that sounds.

Do you not trust Me?

The most difficult part of walking with God in singleness is letting go of your dreams of The One, learning to live in the not yet of your season. For me, saying yes to this call means saying no to other things, and until and unless God puts the same dreams and goals in our hearts, any relationship that starts now will only end in tears and disaster.

And as much as my heart cries for alignment, it also says in triumph: “if it is not Your will, I will let him go.”

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Single & Female

Stuff by single women in the Church for others like them. To submit, email

    Anna Tan

    Written by

    Anna Tan

    I write stuff then worry that everyone will hate it. Wannabe thespian. Worship leader. Bookworm. See my stuff: Website:

    Single & Female

    Stuff by single women in the Church for others like them. To submit, email

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