“Please, God—my daughter needs a job. Give her a job within her area of training, and do it this week. “
I sealed my request with a hearty “thank you in advance” and a holy amen. And then the thought occurred to me, What if God is doing something new in my daughter’s life and He’s stretching her faith? What if He intends to wait a week or two before providing work so that she and her husband will experience His provision in an unexpected way at the midnight hour?
I grew up believing that I ought to pray specifically so I could see God answer in specific ways. But my mind’s changing. Perhaps my so-called specific prayers are actually my way of telling God what to do. And when He doesn’t do it my way, I assume He hasn’t answered, or He’s said no. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God is at work at all times and in all places. He knows the end from the beginning in every situation. He also knows what’s best for my family and me. I only think I know what’s best, and I often utter prayers based on my limited understanding. Those prayers, albeit uttered from genuine concern, might sound more like a drill sergeant’s commands than a child’s requests. Ultimately, they might be my unwitting way of bossing God: Do this. Do that. And do it now.
“This is what the LORD says—the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: ‘Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command. I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions’” (Isaiah 45:11-13 NLT).
Thankfully God examines and knows our deepest thoughts and desires better than we know them ourselves. As He teaches me more about prayer, He’s showing me that my desires don’t always align with His. And so, as I bring my requests to Him, I need to offer them with a surrendered heart: “Father God—my daughter needs a job. Please provide for her family’s needs until the job of Your choosing becomes available. Jehovah-Jireh, show Your power at work on their behalf in this situation, and bring glory to Your name.”
The LORD God is sovereign and wise and powerful. He holds the stars in His command. His purposes will stand forever. He knows my needs and desires, and He’ll address them as I bring them to Him in prayer. Who am I to boss Him?
What are your thoughts in this regard? Perhaps you’ve unwittingly been telling God, “Do this. Do that. And do it now.” If so, how can you turn those commands into surrendered requests?
I’ve always found this a confusing issue. Some argue that not being specific indicates a lack of faith. Others argue that it’s presumptuous to be specific. As I get older I think that it’s always okay to pray Scripture, but that we don’t know the mind of God or what He’s up to.
I totally “get” what you say. It’s great to pray Scripture, too, but then…it’s possible to take Scripture out of context. Bottom line–pray with a surrendered heart and know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, according to the will of God. It’s a mystery. Someday–when we reach heaven–we’ll understand. Finally.