Faith, God, Spiritual Life

Say A Little Prayer For You

August 13, 2013

In January of this year my brother and sister in law did something pretty radical. My brother, a worship pastor at a church, felt his season of leading worship at his church had come to an end and that God was asking him to resign from his job. With no knowledge of what he’d do next, not even a prospect of another job, he stepped down from his position and stepped out in faith. Over the next eight months he, my sister-in-law and our whole family united in prayer that God would give him a job and all would be well. Well, it’s August now and there is still no job to be found.

In times like these, I find that my prayers are a bit, how shall I put it, lopsided. I tend to rattle off prayers like “God, please give Scott a job,” or, “God, can you give them an answer about ____ today.” I say my amens and then sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for God to show up and answer. With each passing day, and seemingly no answer, my prayers go up a notch. Now it’s more like, “C’mon God, I know you’re there, just give him a job already.” “Seriously, God, they need the income, can you give him some kind of work?” I start to beg and plead thinking to myself that if I just pray harder or pray the right way, God will finally hear me and do what I ask. This brings me to our third lie for the month:

If you pray hard enough, God will give you what you want.

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A lot of churches these days toss out what I like to call the “Name and claim” prayer philosophy. Name what you want, claim it to God that you want it, and he will give it to you. Kelly recently wrote a post addressing the verse in Matthew that says “ask and it will be given to you.” Her insight is beautiful, and not where I am heading today. Instead, I want to look at another passage in the book of Luke.

Luke 18:1-7 • “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him, asking, ‘Give me justice in this case against my adversary.’ For a while he refused but finally said to himself, I don’t fear God or respect people, but I will give this widow justice because she keeps bothering me. Otherwise, there will be no end to her coming here and embarrassing me.”

When interpreting this passage, people tend to believe that it means if you pester God long enough, he’ll cave and do what you’re asking. We believe that somehow it is up to us to convince God of what we need and what is best for us. But look at what Matthew says:

“When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask.” (Matthew 6:7-8)

So, God knows what we need before we ask, even if what we are asking for isn’t what we need. If that’s the case, the purpose of prayer should not be a chance to check off all the things you want God to give/do for you but something entirely different. Oswald Chambers said, “Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means for getting something for ourselves; the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”

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When talking to my brother now after eight months of waiting for God to “answer” his prayer, I find his feelings toward the situation are completely different. Instead of telling me he’s waiting around for God to give him a job, he told me that he realized it was never about the job in the first place. He said that he realized that what God wanted was to change him. To make him more like Christ. And the way he was able to come to that place was by spending time in prayer with God & getting to know His heart for my brother.

I’m not saying don’t ask God for things, but what I am saying is that we should stop using God like an ATM for our life- withdrawing wants and desires, but never taking the time to make any deposits. What if we stopped badgering God to give us what we wanted, and instead consumed ourselves with getting to know him? I wonder how our prayers might change, and even more so, our life.

May I challenge you and myself to get to know God more today. To take our time in prayer not as an opportunity to rattle off all the things we want from Him, but to express our love and gratitude-to be still and hear what He might want to say back to us. Who knows, in the end we may not get what we want, but rather what we need.

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  • Brooke August 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I can totally notice a difference in things when I put my whole heart into praying rather than just having a “thank you for this food” moment. Awesome post!!

  • Lisa August 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

    absolutely love this post…I am so guilty of doing the ‘check off my list of prayer wants’ and then moving on. How it must hurt God’s heart when we just come to Him with our demands when He just wants to be with us! Thanks so much for this today!
    PS–loved your “Please give me a cheesecake” on your list…lol!!

  • A Worn Girl August 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Matthew 6:7-8 is such a good reminder that God already knows what you want and need! This blog is an amazing new view for me. Yes, I tend to just use God for things I desire. Instead of realizing to just waste my time with Him. He knows my passions. He knows my struggles. He knows my inner life. He knows what I cannot know in seconds. Why not spend time with such an awesome friend? Gee, He never offends, shrugs off my dilemmas; instead He wants and pursues me. As a band puts it, “God doesn’t need me. He wants me.” :)

  • Charissa J. August 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    This is exactly what I needed today. I am in the season of waiting. I have been waiting on God for a long time to guide me in some areas of my life and have felt like he is no where to be found. I have been searching for a bible study on prayer to learn how God wants us to pray and how to have an intimate relationship with Him, that I so desperately desire. If you could recommend any studies, that would be awesome.
    Thank you so much for sharing all that God is showing you.

  • dece August 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Heather! I thank God for leading me to your post again. I thank Him for using you and your family’s situation to make realize something very important. Last month, our pastor asked me to preach/teach/share something on August 18. Its was a blessing, so I accepted it and agreed to share. However, with barely 4 days left, I still haven’t received any answer to my prayer about what to share to the souls this coming Sunday. I prayed, but I was not truly praying. Thank God for giving you wisdom and leading me here. Based on what you’ve shared, I was not praying; I was asking and begging, pressuring God to give me a passage or topic. Now, I’m reminded once again that when I pray, I’m talking to God, praising and glorifying Him, that it’s Him that I need to fill me so I can worship Him in spirit and in truth. :)

    Once again, thank you. God bless you and your family always. :)

  • alivetodance1 August 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Every time I stop by here, I’m always challenged in many things but I know is for the best :) Thanks girls!