Last night I received a text asking for prayer from a number I didn’t recognize.
Normally, I would welcome the opportunity to go before the Throne for the sake of another. Perhaps if the answer to my asking who it was and how he came into possession of my number hadn’t been, “from your godless, homosexual friend”, I wouldn’t have been so turned off from the get go. But we meet people where they are at (and for the record, for someone who is supposedly “religious” and “close-minded”, I have never used those words to describe a person…to their face or behind their back). If those words are coming out of your mouth/phone, that is a very revealing glimpse into your heart…how you see and feel about yourself! Not to mention, I love the person described as such very dearly and was offended FOR them. I let it go because I knew to him it was a joke, but what it did was set the tone for the conversation that would follow. It was pretty much, “please pray, I need ‘this’ and I don’t want to hear anything you have to say about it…
hmmmm…let me get this straight, you don’t know me from Adam, the first sentence you use to introduce yourself has the words “godless, homosexual” in it and then dump a prayer request on me with a flourish “that’s all!”…?
You’ve heard of a drive-by shooting… this works the same way: speed up to the “prayer closet”, toss a quick “God, I need (blank)” into the general direction of the sky, and drive off like the dickens. We want the benefits, but not the accountability. We treat God like a candy dispenser as if all we need to do is make a quick deposit and out comes the blessing. As if the only thing He is good for is to do our bidding…which is usually self-oriented. We don’t wait to see what He has to say about the issue, request, want, etc.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
What would happen if when we do lay our requests at His feet, we first enter in with Thanksgiving? Praise? What if once we spoke the desire of our hearts, we asked HIM for His thoughts? “God, there is nothing I want more than this thing right here, but if this isn’t good for me or if this isn’t your will, please don’t give it to me. I know if you choose not to give this to me, it’s because, you have something better.”
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
We tend to forget that He sees all aspects, all angles. He sees the past, present, and future all at the same time because he is not bound by time. He sees what we can’t. He knows what will work and what won’t. he knows what is beneficial and what will harm us. (“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.” – Daniel 2:22) We forget…oh, I don’t know…that He is GOD!
There have been times that I have been on my knees begging God for something that I thought I couldn’t live without at the time that He flat-out said, “NO” to. I couldn’t understand at the time and literally thought I would die of a broken heart, but I am so thankful that He in His infinite wisdom didn’t allow it! Because, later on down the line, when I discovered the truth about this situation, things I didn’t know, things I couldn’t see at the time, I realized God was PROTECTING me by saying, “no”! If that thing had happened, I would have been absolutely miserable, my life would be in despair, i would be far from my calling and my relationship with God would have suffered tremendously. He lifted the veil and showed me a lie that as devastating as it was, would have been that much more destructive had I committed to it.
How do you build trust? Relationship. That’s not to say he doesn’t want to give us good things or we can’t ask Him for what we want…but He is more concerned with the condition of our hearts and with building a relationship with Him. You can’t go half-Gospel on Jesus. You can’t throw a demand at Him and run away before He has the chance to give you an answer you might not want to hear.
We also forget one very important thing…our own prayers are just as powerful as the prayers of the person we are asking prayer from. Certainly we are to come together in agreement to edify, encourage and lift each other up, but you better be sure you’re joining the effort….especially if it’s for you! (“Let us then boldly approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16) Don’t give your relationship responsibility away to someone else. Because although He may choose to answer with a “yes”, you’ll miss out on a chance to go deeper with Him, for Him to comfort YOU, for Him to speak sweet Words to YOU, for Him to touch YOUR soul, for Him to bring YOU healing.
Because the gold is in the process…we may think we are going to Him for a want, but it’s in that quiet place, in that place of stillness in His arms..that our needs are met, not just with what we are asking for, but in relation to His presence.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Romans 10:17