Have you found yourself praying lately, "Dear Lord, please put it on the hearts of Matt, Toby and Joey to offer up their sweet book Bad Christian, Great Savior for free. That would really, really do me a solid. Thank you Jesus"? Well have I got some awesome news for you: starting on May 28th at 6am, we are offering a FULL copy of our book "Bad Christian, Great Savior" absolutely FREE for 48 hours! All you have to do to get your very own copy is "Like" our page on Facebook - check below in the blog post for a link!
Speaking of prayers, do you ever get kind of, well, pissed if God doesn't answer all of your prayers exactly how you want him to? You know, like that time you asked him to please give you a raise or a sweeter car? In this post, Joey explains why we should always trust in God when we pray - even when the outcome is not exactly what we expected.
WHAT DO WE REALLY BELIEVE PRAYER IS FOR?
“Of course I know better than God.” We may not want to really believe that we think this way, but our prayers paint a different picture. If I asked someone, “Do you think you know better than God?” I’m pretty sure most would say no. However, if you listen to their prayers it sounds more like a conversation between an employer and an employee than it does a servant to God.
We’ve all heard someone give a prayer request publicly and thought, “That’s the dumbest prayer ever. God may not even love you now because of that one.” Then, the next person gets brave as a result of the first stupid prayer request: “Well, I guess if God cares about that request, I can ask Him to get me an office with a window.” Next thing you know, things digress into everyone praying diligently for God to open up a Red Robin in town. Straight up tear shed.PLEASE GOD! UNLIMITED FRIES, LORD. DON’T YOU GET IT, GOD OF ABRAHAM? UNLIMITED FRIES! Some one then makes an “unspoken request” that God would strike that person down dead right then and there.
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As one of God’s kids, I truly believe that we can and should ask Him for anything at any time. He’s a loving father, He wants to hear our requests, and He can always say “no.” I’m a father of 4. Man, there’s no more delight than in the morning to hear my daughter request chocolate ice cream for breakfast. I say “no” every time, but maybe one day I’ll surprise her.
My concern isn’t with “fix it” prayers in general. I’m concerned for a lot of Christians that are overly obsessed with “fix it” prayers and make no acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty or of His perfect purposes that typically work through our pain. When we pray, here’s what we often forget:
(1) GOD KNOWS BETTER THAN US
If God always answered our prayers exactly the way we wanted, it would be the worst thing for us. Never would a good earthly father allow his kid to play with a gun, regardless of his or her pleading. I wonder how often we unknowingly beg God to allow us to play with a gun and He lovingly says, “No” in order to spare it all from hitting the fan.
(2) GOD WORKS THROUGH OUR PAIN
The very things that we are asking God to fix or “get us out of,” are often the very things that He’s using to make us stronger in faith. Could you imagine how weak our trust in Him would be if He answered every single one of our prayers right when we asked them? Remember, our faith and trust in Him is worth more than gold (1 Peter 1:7).
(3) PRAYER IS MORE ABOUT CHANGING US THAN CHANGING THINGS FOR US
God ain’t your “yard boy.” God’s perfect plans are activated through His people. If His will is to be done, it’s going to be GOD working in and on His people while they are praying. It’s not going to be through our cleverly devised suggestions/demands for God to hear and adhere to.
(4) GOD HAS ALREADY PROMISED MANY OF THE THINGS WE PRAY FOR
God’s word is His gift to us. We get to embrace with joy the promises that He’s made to those who believe. Our prayers, for our own God, must begin with knowledge of what God has already promised us. “God, please provide.” He already said he would. “God, direct my paths. I trust you!” He already said that if you trust Him, He would direct your paths. “God, please protect me.” He already said He would and how do you know that “his protection” doesn’t mean sending your butt to heaven?
So, next time you pray, think through these things. Talk about joy! To know that before you even pray, God knows better than you and your prayers are primarily to change you. After this truth is established, feel free to pray for safety, provision, healing, a new game system, for the ice cream man to come, and for a chance to see Emery live in concert. I know I will.