I think most of us have grown to love the fact that we can ask for whatever we need so much, we’d think we’re not asking enough if we do not have what we think we need. Most of the time, we capitalize on “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2) a lot that when we find ourselves in that place where we feel like we do not have enough, we turn to ourselves and say, “Maybe I haven’t really spent enough time praying” or “I think I did something wrong that’s why God hasn’t answered my prayer yet.”
One of the couples I look up to talked about how they had to teach their kids to be grateful AT ALL TIMES, in any given situation. They realized this was necessary when the kids would start whining when play time is over because they want to play some more or if they wanted to go out even when it isn’t their scheduled date day or when they’ve already finished they’re helping of ice cream and they’d still want more.
Many of us weren’t taught that. Most of us look to God as our father and try so hard to say “This is not enough. I want more.” or “I’ve been a good kid, I deserve this.” or “You should have given me this by now. What’s taking you so long?” in the nicest way possible. After all, we are His children. He is disposed to give us everything we need. He is the great Provider. Nothing is impossible with Him.
Scriptural basis can go on and on.
Don’t get me wrong. I have huge respect on people who have audacious faith. I ask God to take my faith into a higher level everyday. But something changed in me when I heard a preaching during prayer and fasting week. The pastor asked the congregation this question, “How much of your prayers are not for yourself?” “If we come to think of it,” he said, “we pray prayers that would benefit us.”
Do we pray for the salvation of our household so they all would come to know Jesus and experience a life of freedom or do we simply want the persecution from our family to stop? Do we pray for provision so we can be a blessing or do we simply want to live a better life? Do we pray for promotion so we can be salt and light to the earth or do we just want something to add up to our list of achievements? Do we yearn for a more powerful, life-changing time with Him because we genuinely long to experience Him in a supernatural way or do we simply want to have an awesome story to tell the members of our small group?
Most of us pray to get, confident that we are entitled to ask of Him just about anything. But here’s another question the pastor asked towards the end of his preaching: “What if God doesn’t answer your prayers? Would He be less of a God to you? Would you still put your faith in Him? Will you seek the blessor more than the blessing?”
Praying rather differently
So, because I realized I pray a lot of selfish prayers, I started wondering how else to pray.
I found a prayer in the Old Testament that had no intention of getting.
David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, O Lord,
God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the
and the glory and the majesty and the
for everything in heaven and earth is
Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, Our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give generously as this? Everything comes from you. and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.”
-1 Chronicles 29:10-15
King David knew it isn’t always about getting. Praying is also about giving honor to whom honor is due. How often do we give thanks to Him for the air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we have, the house we live in, the family we come home to, the friends we hang-out with, the job that grows our skills and character, the circumstances that challenge our faith? How often do we pray to give and not to get?