Watch What You Pray For
And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king. Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you (1 Samuel 12:12-13).
Be very careful about what you ask for in prayer. You just may get it! In the verses above, Israel had asked God for a king to reign over them. They had seen other nations that were led by a king, and that’s what they collectively desired.
But it was never the will of God to have a king reign over His people. God wanted to be their king. He wanted to be close to them all (See Exodus 19:5). But the Israelites persisted in their request for a king, and that’s what they got!
The point here is that God will actually give you something that is not His best if you ask and then persist in your faith. God will honor His Word in your life if you believe it. And that’s the reason that I’m very careful as to what I ask for in faith.
It takes me longer to figure what to pray for than to actually do the literal praying for it! God will honor your faith if you really want something badly enough even though it may not be His best for you. I know this goes cross-grain to most religious thinking, but it’s true.
Jesus said, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7). So when I am praying about something, I first of all ask the Lord what He wants me to have. Instead of bullishly coming before the throne of God, I step back and humble myself. I ask Him to show Me His highest and best will in the matter I’m praying about. That takes time. I usually pray and wait before God sometimes, days, weeks, and even months for big things I’m praying about. I don’t want to step out into presumption and do what Israel did by asking for what is not His best for me!
Understand that I’m not talking here about praying about being healed from sickness and disease, or about the Lord supplying a real time need, or about someone being born again. The Word is clear about God’s will on these subjects. I’m talking about things like where to purchase land for building a church, or which job to take, or which city to live in. I call these things gray areas, where the Word doesn’t specifically tell you the will of God.
Jesus said again, If you abide in Me, ask…If you’re really abiding in Him you’ll not ask for something that is not His will; you’ll patiently wait in the gray areas of life until you’re sure of the will of God. Then when you pray, you’ll have confidence that you’ll receive God’s best because He is giving you His desires as you pray.
Psalms 37:4 applies so well here: Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. When you spend time with the Lord and put Him first in your life by putting His Word first place, then He will place in you what He wants you to do.
I’ll leave you with Proverbs 16:3 in the Amplified Bible today. Walk cautiously with the Lord and seek His best in the gray areas of life. He will answer prayer if you stand in faith and believe. Just make sure you’re praying for the right thing!
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed (Proverbs 16:3).