“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!”
How many of us can say that God has answered every one of our prayers? Not many, right? Even Jesus prayed to God that the cup would be passed from Him, that He wouldn’t have to go through the crucifixion. But Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, also prayed that God’s Will be done.
What Jesus showed us through this example is that there are things that we will pray for that won’t be according to God’s plan. What if God said, “Okay, you know what? Don’t worry about it; we’ll find another way for the sinners to be saved.”
When we pray, we often pray based primarily on emotion. Eventually, we might get to a position of spiritual maturity where we pray Spirit-led prayers to God. But many of us aren’t there yet. Many of us still pray when disaster strikes, or when our heart is broken, or when the pressure is just too much to bear anymore.
God wants us to call on Him about everything. He doesn’t want us to hold back; not even on the small things. But He does want us to know that He is wise and that His Will is better than ours. When we pray, we can’t see what lies ahead. Our prayer for financial deliverance sounds good to us; our prayer to move to a certain location sounds good to us. But what do we know?
God see’s ahead and He see’s the dangers with what we’re asking for. Sometimes there is no danger and sometimes God says, “Sure, let’s do this.” But what happens if He doesn’t give me what I ask for? Then what?
Table of Contents
God wants us to get in the habit of praying
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.”
This verse tells us to bring “everything” to God in prayer. However, it doesn’t tell us that He will answer every prayer the way we would think. When we follow God and we mature in our faith, we will come to an understanding that God is steadily changing us. Our desires will change, too.
Right now, we might want certain things for ourselves; things that will remove pain and instead, bring pleasure. God will mold our hearts and our desires to match what He wants when we seek Him earnestly. Soon, instead of praying for our every desire that brings pleasure to self, we will start praying for things that benefit the Kingdom of God or that bring us to a closer fellowship and understanding of God.
“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
So, if we are not praying for the things that will benefit the Kingdom of God, why would we expect Him to give them to us? As for money, it changes people. We swear up and down that we won’t change, except God has seen this, countless times. Money does change people. People can start to build trust and security in their money. Soon, because of their money, they grow in power and pride, and they become bigger than the God who answered their prayer for money.
God will search your heart to see the true condition of your character. In most cases, God isn’t going to give us something that will harm us. Sometimes we can push, and push, and push, and God will say, “Okay, so be it!” This isn’t generally a good thing. If we move God to a position where He needs to humble us, He may use one of our prayers to do it. Again, we don’t see all the imminent dangers ahead.
God wants us to be filled with only His Spirit
“The LORD is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayers of the righteous.”
“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.
Because of your sins, he has turned away
and will not listen anymore.”
Both of these Scriptures tell us that God won’t answer the prayers of people filled with the wrong spirit. When we have God’s Spirit in us, we won’t spend time in sin. It will burden us to sin. We will still sin periodically, but we won’t be able to remain in sin.
When we are seeking God’s provision in our life, generally through prayer, we must come to Him in the right Spirit. God hears the prayers of the righteous; Jesus is the righteousness in us.
Before bringing a request to God, shouldn’t we first confess any known sin and repent of these before the Lord? God is a God of grace and He knows that we aren’t perfect. He doesn’t tell us that first we need to be a certain way before we can be saved. No, we are invited into His Kingdom in whatever condition we’re in.
But after we’ve been saved, God will work with us and bring us up to His standard. Often times he will do this in smaller parts, bit by bit so that we change over time and are renewed by His Spirit. So, when I say that we must come to God in a pure or righteous state, I’m not talking about for Salvation, just to clarify. I’m talking about when we are asking for God’s blessing on our life, we must be sure that our loyalty for Him isn’t divided and that we aren’t living in obvious sin.
If you aren’t sure if you are living in sin, bring that to God in prayer and ask Him to put it on your heart and to expose any unknown sin in your life; He will.
God wants the best for His children
“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.”
When God blesses us, His ways are perfect, and they are “true” blessings. The things we ask for in our limited vision might come to us like a Knight in Shining Armor, but soon turn into our enemy. What I mean is, how many times have we asked for something, got it, then within a few months or so, started to grumble about it?
When we wait on the Lord to bring to us the blessings that He wants us to have, these will be real blessings that don’t soon turn to burdens.
I can pray to God that I can get a new car. I wait for a few days, determine that God is at the other end of the universe and can’t hear me, and I go apply for financing on that car. When I get approved and drive that car off the lot, I will feel great in my new car and I will praise God for the new car. In about 6 months when the payments keep coming in full-force and the new car smell has worn off, I will only be left with grief and will scream out in agony, “Why God? Why didn’t you stop me; why have you forsaken me?” Or, something like that!
If I pray to God and wait for Him, in most cases, God will provide the right car, and in a way that there is no financial burden attached. But how many can truly say that they waited on God “Until?”
Those who have will tell you that God’s blessings do not come with strings attached or hidden grief.
A quick thought about our money
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
I realize that this verse is all about tithing. But when it comes to God’s blessings and Him answering prayers, we must consider all things.
My wife and I have been faithful tithers for more than twenty years now. What I can say is that as we have been faithful to bring His tithe to our local church, He has been faithful to keep us fed and clothed and under warm and dry shelter.
How can we go to God and ask Him to generously answer our prayers if we aren’t willing to be generous with the money that He provides us first? You say, “Ah, this is Old Testament stuff!”
In Matthew 23:23, which is New Testament stuff, Jesus tells us that we should tithe. Think of all the things that God has done for us through grace; can we not extend that grace through our finances to help the church in these troubling times? God loves and blesses a cheerful giver. Malachi 3:10 above tells us this is so.
Pray to God about this. If you have never tithed to your local church (this is different than donations and offerings to charities), then ask God about these things. Try tithing and trusting God for provision. He is a faithful God.
Okay, so how should I respond when God doesn’t respond the way I expect?
There are two options here; we can throw a tantrum like a kid who is refused a toy or candy, or we can strive to move to maturity where we say, “not my will, but Yours,” and actually mean it.
The second option is the one we want. This will take some practice, but as we grow in love for God and learn about His infinite wisdom, we will also become more understanding. We can pray for anything, but we must understand that not everything is beneficial for us.
We must get to a place where we can honestly say, “If you don’t give me what I want, I’ll still follow you and love you.” For many, we come to God, we fall to our knees, and we pour our heart out. We are likely very sincere, too. Then what? God doesn’t come through; God doesn’t even so much as give us an: “I’ll get back to you on this.”
So, we get upset. We essentially throw a fit. We turn from God and we have a pity party. We might even go about a different way of attaining what we were asking for.
Okay, so I am generalizing here. I am not saying that every one of us does this. But I am saying that this behavior is common. However, this is not the behavior that God desires from us. If He gives us something we ask for, it’s likely good for us. If He withholds something we ask for, it’s likely not beneficial for us, at least, not yet. Our attitude is often more important to God, He wants us to ask and receive with a right heart.
We can seek God on this and ask Him to teach us to pray and to help us to be stable in our emotions, regardless what His answer is. Soon, we can get to a point where our faith and love for God doesn’t waver when He doesn’t respond the way we would hope for.
Plead with God, pray in faith, but leave the results up to His best judgment.
I’m sure I may have stepped on some toes here, as praying is a personal thing where we attach much emotion. I can say that I have prayed many times to God throughout my forty years on earth, and only a few were ever answered the way I expected. Now, I am learning to also pray that God’s Will be done first, and actually mean it.
This has been difficult for me, but as I seek God more, and seek to get closer to Him, this is becoming easier and easier. I encourage you to keep on praying to God and to keep asking for what you need and desire. I also encourage you to be willing to be understanding and loving to God when He doesn’t answer your prayer the way you think it ought to be.
“Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Get right with God and put Him first in your life. Seek Him more than you seek self-pleasure and He will respond in ways you may have never experienced.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, click here to send in your prayer request. My wife and I would love to pray for you.