It was recently Q&A night at theMILL (For an audio of Q&A night at theMILL click here.). Over the course of 45 minutes I answer as many questions as I can on-the-fly taken from those in attendance. I encourage people to not shy away from questions as they can lead us to truth and faith. I only get through a small percentage of the stack of questions so for a while I have committed to answer a question a week on my blog. This is question #2.
THE BIBLE SAYS TO PRAY AS IF IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED OR BEEN ANSWERED, BUT THEN GOD DOES NOT FULFILL IT, DOES HE NOT CARE? OR DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO PRAY LIKE IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED?
The Bible doesn’t say that we are to pray as if our desired answer has already happened, though it does say that God knows what we need even before we ask (Matthew 6:7-8), that we are to pray with perseverance (Luke18:1-5), and that we are to ask in faith (Mark 11:20-24).
To expect God to fulfill our expectations or answer our requests in a certain way is a recipe for disillusionment. Ultimately, we are saying that we know best and God is part of helping fulfill our plans, dreams and desires. If we set specific expectations on God, and if he doesn’t come through in that specific way, we can experience disappointment and come to the conclusion that he doesn’t care or isn’t faithful.
The difference between our expectations and what God actually does, boils down to priorities. The priorities of our lives are often very different than and at odds with God’s. We frequently and naturally lean toward comfort, convenience, self-preservation and worldly views of success. God is most interested in complete surrender, our sanctification and His glory.
This means then that we should pray with an attitude of expectation of God doing what is best, not what we expect. That might sound something like this: “God, I want you to control what happens in my life. Right now I want [fill in request here], but if that doesn’t fit into Your best for my life, I really don’t want it. And I trust you. I trust that you are bigger than me, know better than me and love me with a love that I can’t wrap my head around. I trust that your thoughts are higher than my thoughts and your ways higher than my ways. I know that you are at work in me, so my ultimate prayer is – not my will but Your will be done.”