When it comes to prayer, we can make the mistake of allowing what we deserve as sinners to keep us from asking God for His provision. While it is true, we are undeserving of God’s grace and His good gifts; we misunderstand the reason He answers our prayers. I know this has been true for me.
I have even gone as far as to intentionally not ask for my deepest desires; in essence, I have decided to punish myself for God. I consider that my sinful nature or things I have done in the past deserve His punishment and His rejection. So, I have held back my requests. I have ignored that one on one relationship that I need and He desires. I wonder how that has made Jesus feel? I’m sure very disappointed and hurt. Not trusting Him has to be painful. But even more than that, my reluctance to seek Him in prayer is not to let Him be who He is; it is to interrupt His character and will. It is to put a roadblock in His pathway.
Not only do I miss out, but He also misses out on fulfilling His very nature in my life. It’s like inviting a cook to your home to prepare a meal for you and your guests; you buy all the ingredients for a wonderful meal, show him everything in the kitchen, and then tell him he can’t cook. Or it’s like telling an Olympic swimmer who has practiced for years for the Olympics, and then the big day comes to compete; she arrives, then you tell her she can’t swim. To not petition God is to stand in the way of what He does best.
He wants to answer our prayers.
He must practice His grace.
It’s essential to His very being to be faithful.
Jesus answers our prayers because He loves us, not because we deserve the answer. And true love decides to love based on forgiveness. Our justified standing before God is not based on what we do or didn’t do, but on what Jesus did.
Jesus is our faithful Savior. If He can see through His death on a cross to the very end while we are yet sinners, so we can experience freedom from our sin, why would He ignore yours and my petitions that we ask of Him today?
No matter how big or small of a thing you ask or seek, Jesus is at the door ready to open. He will invite you into His Presence. He will grant you what you need without hesitancy. He will not give you a stone or a snake. That is what the devil gives. You can expect good gifts, for the Father of lights only gives what is good. There is no variation or shadow cast with His blessings. He is not a trick or treat kind of god; He is all about treats! He is good.
You may be sitting there reading this thinking, “But I have not been faithful to Him.” I have had that very thought. Out of guilt for my sin, I have decided I don’t deserve a good answer. But Jesus died for that. He covered my infractions.
You might say, “But what if what I am asking is just too far-fetched for God to answer.” I have said that. Are we serious? If He can raise Himself from the dead, what else could we ask that is more far-fetched than that? Our barriers to the requests we seek are not God’s inabilities, it’s our lack of faith and seeking.
James put it well, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For a doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:5-7).
There are some key phrases I want you to note in this passage:
God, who gives generously – another word for generous is charitable. To be charitable is to give to an undeserving person. When one gives charitably, they do it because of who they are not because of who the person receiving is. God gives. It’s what He knows to do and be. I have never given money or food to the homeless person on the street because they deserve it. I don’t even know them. I give because I love and care that they have what they need. I’m human. How much more is God than me?
God, who gives…without criticizing – another word for criticizing is condemning. When we give our lives to Christ, we cross over the line from being condemned to no condemnation. The only accuser we will encounter is Satan. He accuses best whereas God blesses best.
Ask in faith without doubting – to doubt is to mistrust. It’s to think that God is not really who He says He is. It’s to disbelieve His ability. It’s to take our eyes off Him and put them on the circumstance. It is to hold the impossibility set before us above the One who can do the impossible. That’s idolatry! Faith pleases God. On the contrary, to not believe displeases Him.
A doubter….should not expect to receive anything from the Lord – The roadblock to miracles in our life is not God, it’s our doubt; it’s our lack of faith; it’s you and me. Rand Hummel says in his book, Fear Not, “If I refuse to seek God’s will or purpose on a matter, God is under no obligation to deliver me.” When we concern ourselves with our problems and ignore God’s ability to solve them, we cannot expect deliverance.
God is rich in mercy.
He is great in love.
His grace has no limits.
There is no end to His glorious riches.
Miracles are His specialty.
All He asks of us is to have faith. He does not ask us to come to Him with a perfect record. He does not ask us to be upstanding citizens who live on the right side of the tracks. He asks us to believe Him humbly; for it is our faith that will move mountains. It is our faith that sees answers. It is what we choose to believe that will change our life (negatively or positively). If we choose to believe in the God who can do what’s impossible and does good by His love, we will see great and mighty things we did not even know or ask. It will be more than we could imagine. But if we choose to focus on what we deserve, we will keep ourselves from His goodness; we only gaze upon the goodness we could have.
I would imagine that Jesus walked away quite sad from His hometown. It was here that His earthly family did not believe in who He was. While they were astonished at His wisdom when He taught, they could not get passed their unbelief in seeing Jesus as their Savior and Lord. So, what did Jesus do? “He did not do many miracles there.” (Matthew 13:58). It was their unbelief that stood in the way of Jesus’ power to bless them. They were the roadblock to God’s grace, mercy, and love.
Our prayers are effective! We never need to doubt their power. We can truly trust that God is faithful to His word! The questions for us are:
Will we allow God to be good to us?
Will we knock on our Savior’s door?
Will we step out of the darkness of disbelief and experience the power of faith?
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Jesus