Do You Share Prayer Requests Or Commands?
Speaking of God’s sovereignty (His perfect, infinite, unchanging sovereignty), in light of your desire to find a life partner sometime before you die (or even just your first girlfriend or boyfriend), let me ask this question: what if the needs you’d like God to meet through an intimate human relationship, God wants to meet some other way? Have you given God the freedom to meet your needs His way?
We talk about asking God to meet our needs, but what we often wind up doing with our prayer life is telling God to meet our needs; and even better, how to do it. We may call them prayer requests, but they’re really prayer commands.
Here’s an example. If my mortgage payment is due and I don’t have enough funds in the bank to pay it, I’ll likely be tempted to pray for another speaking engagement so I can pay my bills. I might even get all caught up in what specific speaking engagement I just know I need to have. I’ll lay out for God why I need this gig; almost like a proposal.
What’s the problem here?
I’m trying to tell God how to meet my needs. All I need is the mortgage payment covered. What if God wants to do that through a gift from a friend?
Well, that’s humbling, that’s what!
What I need to pray is, “God, please show me how I can pay my mortgage,” and then trust God to do just that. If I want to spend more time on the subject, I can ask God what I should be doing to facilitate His answer to my prayer. (Should I follow up on that one speaking engagement or another? Should I ask others to pray for my need?)
This all puts the following passage in an entirely different light.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – James 4:2-3 (ESV)
I use to read that passage and think, “I’m not killing anyone. I’m not looking for a fight. And I have asked God, over and over again!” Then I’d jump right to the next verse and say, “Oh! I must be asking with the wrong motives.”
Now I realize I was giving myself too much credit. The first question is whether I’ve asked God at all. Have I really asked God to solve this problem or have I been telling Him to solve this problem? It’s a big difference. If you are addressing a superior, you ask for help, you don’t tell. And you certainly don’t direct.
QUESTION: Can you think about something you’ve been telling God about that you’d like to ask Him about instead?
For more, check out the first 8-lesson guidebook in the LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation (Part 1: Three Critical Life Lessons for Relational Success). For just $4.99 you can get the whole thing right now on iBooks, Kindle or Nook.
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