‘Search me, O God, and know my heart.’ Psalm 139:23 NKJ
If you’ve got praying sussed, you can skip today’s reading. But since you’re still with us, here are two common mistakes we all make.
(1) Focussing on previous failure. The Bible says we’re to pray with faith and confidence (see 1 John 3:21–22).
(2) Failing to examine our motives. It also says, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart… see if there is any wicked way in me.’ (Psalm 139:23–24 NKJ)
GULP! Even if we get these two things right, why does God sometimes not answer or delay His answer? For our own good! Our reasons might be right but our timing might be wrong. Or there might be stuff in your life that God has to deal with before He can answer your prayer. For example, if you’re passionate about justice for the homeless but you’re not treating your friends or parents with respect, God will want to deal with that. We can be blind to our own faults but God isn’t, and He loves enough to correct us.
Here’s some backward-looking logic—unanswered prayer is God’s gift. Think about it, if all our prayers were answered we’d pray for God to change the world to our liking. We’d be like spoiled children, too many toys, and wanting more! We’d pray for victory at the expense of others. Isaiah said, ‘The Lord longs to be gracious to you… therefore He waits.’ (Isaiah 30:18 NAS)
Unanswered prayer protects, breaks, deepens and transforms. Past unanswered prayers which left us hurt and disillusioned, act like a refiner’s fire to prepare us for future answers. So, pray with the right motives! Don’t come to God with a shopping list. Instead come with an open heart to hear His voice.
SoulFood: Jas 1–2, Luke 5:1–11, Ps 91, Prov 3:3–4
word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2017