Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I can’t really count the number of times that I’ve gone to God in prayer and asked for strength. It’s a very natural thing to do. When a situation comes along that feels like more than we can handle, we usually turn to Him.
What if, though, we should really be praying for weakness? It’s a strange way to think about it. Now, the whole concept of praying for strength is an acknowledgement that we can’t do it on our own. When we ask, it’s usually a concession, an admission of need.
Here in this verse, we actually see Paul boasting in his weakness though because He knows that it is through his weakness that God’s strength is made known. In this chapter, Paul is referring to some particular struggle – the thorn in his side. Some people debate what that thorn might have been, but after begging God to take it away, He receives a very strange answer to his prayer.
He asked God for strength. He asked to be rid of whatever that thorn was, but God responded by telling Paul that His power “works best” in weakness. Because of that weakness, Paul couldn’t really stake a claim to any of the works he was doing. It was all God. The thorn allowed all of the glory to be given to God.
In the next verse, Paul says:
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Maybe we should take a lesson from this verse and actually pray for weakness. Paul rejoiced in his weakness because he knew that it was in his weakest state that the fullness of Christ’s power made him strong. It was not the work of his own hands.
So, maybe we give it a shot and pray for weakness. If we realize our weakness, then we see the fullness of the power of Christ in our lives. We come alive to the fact that His grace is all we need.