December 11, 2011

Presumptive Praying

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- December 11, 2011

But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.”
Psalm 106:13-15

Be careful what you pray for: You may receive it and more. And, it may not be pleasant! Prayer is not a magic wand that necessarily makes all things better. God is not a genie who resides in a magic lamp waiting for your beckoning call. He is not released by the “rub” of our prayers to grant our wishes. But, sometimes we drift into this presumptive way of thinking. We begin to take God for granted. And when things do not go to our liking, we ask God to bail us out or to act prematurely on our behalf. We sometimes act like spoiled children and demand our way. “OK,” the wise parent may say to the child, “you can have it your way and its consequences.”

Whether we are a child or an adult, we struggle with some of the same temptations. It may be an unwise purchase that sends our budget into chaos. It may be a relationship that chews up and spits out our emotional life. It can be a consuming career that leaves nothing for family or friends. It may be a hobby or  habit that has no Kingdom purpose. In fact, it devalues it. Somehow the issue comes back to control—my control.

However, since God can handle any situation, why do I try to force the issue? Part of the answer is fatigue. When I am emotionally, physically or spiritually spent, I do not make the best decisions. I ask for what I should not ask for. I do what I should not do. My praying becomes presumptive rather than prayerful. Presumptive prayers want a quick fix and a quick out. You are duped into thinking that God owes you this opportunity or relief. If you are persistent in your self-preserving attitude of praying, you may get it. But, your will is a cheap substitute for His.

Prayerful praying, on the other hand, is Christ-centered and patient. Through it you  really trust for God’s will, not yours, to be done. It is a reassuring way to pray. The weight of the world does not rest on your way of doing things. God can and will handle things in His timing. You shift from a demanding spirit to a dependent spirit. You truly trust that God has your best interests in mind. He does not need to be conjured or convinced. Prayer is for us to align our hearts with God’s heart, not His with ours (that is a scary thought).

Prayerful praying means you are searching the Scriptures to review good examples of prayer. You learn. Then your prayers grow in accuracy and authenticity. Prayer is an awesome responsibility not to be taken lightly or flippantly. God delights in answering prayers that align with His character and purposes. This is who He is. This is what He does. Be prayerful. Be others-centered in your praying. Seek His face first, not His hand. Pray from a pure heart and a humble head. Prayerful praying beats presumptive praying every time. It is the way to go. It works. So be careful what you pray for. You may get it and more.

Taken from Dose 78 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”…

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Effective prayers come from a dependent spirit not a demanding one. … #prayer #God

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