What Do You Want?
What do you pray for? Do your prayers seek to solve your problems? Ben’s mother sent him to his room for misbehavior. A short time later he came out and said to his mother. ”I’ve been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer.” ”That’s fine, ”she said, ”If you ask God to help you do the right thing, He will help you.” ”Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me be good,” replied the boy. ”I asked Him to help you put up with me.” Ben’s prayer solution had a selfish edge to it. Children often pray with a focus on ”me.” Take for instance the following prayers.
- My Mom tells me that you have a reason for everything, I guess broccoli is one of your mysteries, can you get rid of it?
- Please make my parents understand that if I don’t eat salad, I do better at school.
- Forgive me for hiding my sister’s favorite doll”¦ please don’t tell her where it is.
- I need you to make my mom not allergic to cats.Â I really want a cat and I really don’t want to ask my mom to move out.
- Please don’t let it rain on Saturday, the first ball I hit is for you.
These funny prayers make us smile and think well, they are children. They don’t understand how prayer works but are adult prayers really any less selfish? Have you ever found yourself thinking along the linesÂ of these prayers?
- Please help me get this promotion.
- Help me get a parking space so I won’t be late.
- Let my child get into the right school.
- Please don’t let me get a speeding ticket.
- Let me win the lottery and I promise to use it for good things.
The Problem with Demand Prayers
It is difficult for all of us to remember that God is not a wish grantor even when our prayers are not so selfish. We must remember that it is God’s will that must prevail in all of our conversations with Him. Prayer is a surrender; it must align with giving up complete control totally to God. Prayer is not pulling God to our will but aligning our will to the will of Him. (Hughes, 1987)
When we communicate with God we don’t place demands on what we want but instead discuss with him what He wants for us. As we align our prayers to His will we can be certain that He listens. God always gives an answer and we can pray with confidence if our willÂ alignsÂ with His. God’s answer will always be the result that best fulfills His plan.
Our focus verse this week is;
And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. 1 John 5:14 (NLT)
This verse gives us the reassurance that God does indeed hear us when we pray and that He will grant prayers that please Him and that follow His plan. In order to understand better what pleases God and aligns with His plans we must learn to know Him better. This allows us to seek His will in our life.
Pray with Confidence
God’s purpose must always come first and it is our purpose to glorify Him. Prayers aren’t answered in the way we desire simply because we are good, do good deeds, or follow the rules. Prayers aren’t always answered just because they are unselfish either. Positively answered prayers are possibilitiesÂ when they emphasize God’s will and not ours. This is often the hardest part of prayer as often we don’t understand because we don’t see the whole picture or understand the big plan.
It is our position to remember that God is in control. He does hear us when we pray and it is important to know that He will give an answer. He will not however do it on our schedule but in His time. We can pray with confidence knowing that He is listening but we must also remember that it is Him we are glorifying.
If the request is wrong, God says, ”No.”
When the timing is wrong, God says, ”Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, ”Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right, and you are right, God says, ”Go.” (Hybels, 2008)
Confident praying requires you to get to know God better. Persist on pleasing Him. Knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow through. Learn to pray seeking to discuss your needs knowing that your prayers must align with God’s will and purpose.
Challenge yourself to pray not with demands but with what He wants for you. Find yourself convicted to pray with confidence knowing He is listening. Your motivation to pray without ceasing is in knowing that He will answer in His time and this provides you with the peace and comfort to keep moving on the path to reach His glory.
Love in Christ,
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
Credits Hughes, K. A. (1987). Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. Carol Stream: Tyndale Publishing House. Hybels, B. (2008). Too Busy Not to Pray. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you find your prayers sounding like demands? Is it hard to pray for God’s will to be done? Are you confident that God hears you? Join us in discussion on finding confidence in prayer.