A New Life caller today explained she was nervous and perhaps anxious about God answering her prayer for a job for which she had just interviewed.
She said that the interview had gone well and that she was praying, fasting, memorizing Scripture, going to church and being the best Christian she could, with the expectation that her behavior would somehow move God to give her the job.
Her question was “Can I expect a “yes” from God?”
Our answer was “no”.
Another person in my office this week was lamenting that they weren’t experiencing a lot of changes in their marriage, and wondered if the dysfunctional relational problems would ever go away?
I countered with:
- “How often are you on your knees begging God to help you see the broken places within yourself and in your spouse that might give you new insights, compassion and love for one another?”
- “How often are you pleading with Him to give you wisdom to somehow experience a shift in your perspectives in the way you see yourself and each other?”
I could tell by their blank stares that the answer was seldom to never.
So why would I suggest to a radio caller that her prayer expectations might lead to a “no” from God and to another couple stuck in old patterns that their prayers might lead to a “yes” from God?
I’ve asked God for many a job or relief from a stressful situation only to face disappointment after disappointment.
Then, out of no where, something opens up… or a stepping stone to yet another step opens up… and I’m surprised by joy. Then months or years later seeing the bigger picture …and appreciating the wisdom of God as He put me in just the right place.
So with respect to specific requests for which I am short sighted as a mere mortal, I cannot always say that prayer will work… on command… God the answer man… the right formula… then God will obey… me … a mere mortal that cannot see past my nose.
But…. with respect to my character, soul, sanctification and growth… I do know that God is much attuned and very attentive to my prayers.
His will for my life is growth, maturity and increased healthiness.
For this I must pray aggressively and wrestle with God to help me see, yield and relinquish deeply embedded patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Here’s a promise:
“And this is the confidence which we have before Him that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask we know we have the requests we have asked from Him (I John 5:14-15).”
Thanks for listening… more next week.
Milan & Kay