I’m Really Asking For It Now

How many times must I be reminded of this lesson? “Ignore what people say, listen to what God says.”

People say stupid things that have a way of sounding wise.

God says incredible things that are hard to trust but turn out to be right all along.

If I’m not paying attention, I forget.

That’s what messes up my prayer life on occasion, even after all these years. I mean, I’ve been talking with God since childhood – about everything, really.

God said this in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And I believed Him so I prayed about everything from parking spaces to world peace, nothing was too big or too small to discuss with the God who dwells on high but also dwells within me.

God says this in James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” So I submitted and resisted. The devil ran and God came near.

God says this in James 4:2a-3, “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” So I asked. And because the wrong motives clause bugged me and I knew I wouldn’t be capable of fixing my motives on my own, I asked Him to fix my motives so I would stand a chance of praying with a pure heart.

And when I listen to God, I can get my groove on in prayer. And while I don’t hear a big “YES” to every prayer, things happen and God is near and life is full of adventure.

But then, like a spiritual shin splint, I stumble and start listening to some person who has a different take on prayer.

“Don’t ask God for what you should do yourself.” “Be prepared to be your own answer to prayer.”“Why are we wasting breath on trivial prayers for better weather and parking places. How selfish are we? All of our prayers would be better directed toward curing cancer and saving the lost.” “After a careful analysis of Biblical prayer, I have found this pattern that we should all pray and it goes like this: etc, etc, etc. If you pattern your prayers in this way – victory will be yours!”

I’ve learned things about prayer from teachings about patterns but, too often, they begin to feel like spells, incantations, or magic abracadabra ways to approach an idol to flatter and trick him into giving me my wish. They tempt me to see God as a genie in a bottle and prayer as a way I stumble around with the secret combination to unlocking His magic. It stops feeling like I’m talking to my Father God.

And I believe we should be doers of the word, not hearers only but there is a lot of life I can’t “do” or “control.” I am much more dependent on God than I am comfortable acknowledging but there it is. Prayer reminds me of how needy I really am.

As I mature in Christ, I’m tempted to see that maturity in a worldly way –as if at some point, we outgrow our dependence on God. But maturity in Christ is about a growing dependence. It’s counter-intuitive and counter-cultural but “leaning on the everlasting arms” is the goal, not a sign that I’m using God as a crutch.

Now, if all I ever said to God was “Give me. Help me. Give me more.” Than yes, that would indicate something was wrong with our relationship. But in the context of our Father-daughter relationship, it makes sense that on any given day, plenty of my prayers begin with those words.

Where else would I go for what I need?

Here in New England, we value independence and hard work. Standing on our own two feet and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We’re tough. We’re strong. We’re independent.

But God tells us “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” I Corinthians 3:7

I pray about everything. I pray about parking places and I pray about brain tumors. I pray about lost keys and I pray about lost kingdoms. Why?

Because I can plant and I can water but I know that only God has the power to unlock the potential for growth in the seed. Nothing I do will ever reach its potential without Him.

Jesus died to give me direct access to the Father and He tells me to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18.”

So I bring it all to Him and trust Him to sort it out. Except for those times when someone else’s wise idea sounds better and I try that out for a time. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Here’s the truth. There is only ONE with the power to unlock the potential for growth in a seed. Take everything to Him in prayer. All your seeds. Every one.

Because with all that power, He is still your Father.

You don’t have because you don’t ask. Are you asking for it? I know I am.

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  1. Thanks for being bold and truthful, as well as insightful and challenging 🙂

  2. Living Water says:

    In everything—trivial, important or critical—by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God!

    There is nothing too trivial or crucial that our Father wouldn’t want to hear from us, for even the very hairs of our head are numbered, and we are more valuable to Him than many sparrows (Matthew 10:30-31).

    Thanks for sharing this. God bless.