How many times have you heard preachers and teachers and brethren alike quote Scripture such as ” [God] own[s] the cattle on a thousand hills“ or ” [God] will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus“? Now, how many times have you, or someone you know, been in that very same service, prayer meeting, revival conference, etc., and went home the same way you came?
You named it, you claimed it, you believed it, and the sciatica, the joint pain, the money trouble, the depression, the anxiety, the marital problems, the dissatisfying job were still there when you left that day, when you woke up the following day or when you went to work that Monday? So, what seems to be the problem: is it our prayers, our beliefs, or is it that we pray to a God that we either don’t believe in or, worse, doesn’t even exist?
How many times will we have to sit there and watch others receive their blessings while we are sidelined and left in our situations? It would appear that something happens, or a few things happen, or better yet, don’t happen in the time between when we say it in our heads, confess it with our lips and believe it in our lives.
So, let me ask you a different question: have you ever asked a stranger for money? I would assume many of us haven’t found ourselves in that situation. Now, I’m not talking about a quarter to call home or spare change to have enough money for a cheeseburger. I’m talking about going to Walmart, loading up your cart, pulling up to the cash register, and then, out of nowhere, turning to the person in front or behind us and asking them to pay for our groceries!
Perhaps some of us have needed to ask a total stranger for a cab fare or subway fare or a ride to the hospital or some other kind of emergency. Now, notice, in your mind, you automatically can imagine yourself doing the second thing but not the first thing. Everyone here can foresee themselves asking out of desperation but not asking out of gall or temerity for a total stranger to pay for our weekly groceries.
Unfortunately, that is precisely what too many of us Christians do every single time they pray: we ask a total stranger to pay for their groceries, knowing fully well these two things:
- If we knew the stranger, there could be a chance of the stranger paying for the groceries. For example, sometimes you find yourself in line at the store with your next-door neighbor and, having forgotten your wallet at home, your neighbor decides to spare you the embarrassment of having to put everything back and pay your grocery bill or;
- If this was an emergency, a real emergency, you could appeal to the stranger’s good nature. They would find it in their heart to do the right thing: give you bus fare, buy you a quick meal, get you an Uber to the hospital, let you use their phone, or even give you a ride themselves, after all, Americans are the world’s number one hitchhikers: more Americans have gone cross-country without the use of a vehicle than any other country or nationality in the world! However, the chances are that an entire cartload of groceries is not for an emergency (unless it’s a national crisis).
As Christians, the problem here is that we have a false sense of what to expect, and we have a skewed view of how to make these expectations come to pass. We pray lofty, lengthy prayers to a total stranger! We know God provides, we know He loves, He cares, He knows, He sees, etc., but somehow what we know of Him doesn’t materialize for us through Him!
God wants us to go to Him expecting, and He wants us to rely on Him for every-single-little-thing-we-could-ever-need-or-desire! But that is based on relationship; Christianity is not a religion. It’s, above all, a relationship!
You see, only children can go to a father with expectations of him acting on their behalf: children don’t make it a habit of asking; they tell daddy what they want. “Daddy, I want Nutella,” “Dad, get me that toy on top of the shelf,” Dad, I want to go to the movies,” and so on.
No child runs up to a stranger asking for stuff, nor does a father jump into action when a stranger’s child approaches; the man will most likely look around and ask: “to who does this child belong?” so that he can match the responsible party with the responsibility, namely, the child. But not only that; when was the last time you called your earthly father on the phone and went straight to the ask? You skip the pleasantries and go directly to hitting him up for money: anyone? No, of course not! Then why use such reasoning with our Heavenly Father?
We have to stop acting like our Father in Heaven is some Cosmic Vending Machine. We skip the praise and worship part of the service, come for most of the Message and answer the altar call at the end for the personal blessing: God is not a Drive-Thru! He is neither pleased nor moved by such empty religion. You can quote all the “name it and claim it” Scripture you want, but they’re not intended to be some hocus pocus magic potion.
Yes, you have to approach the Throne of Grace knowing that God is ready, willing, and able, but God doesn’t answer spam emails or private number calls: if He doesn’t know you, you are not getting His attention. Why do you ask? Well, who’s to say that you won’t give something else or someone else the honor and glory for the miracle? And then He would have to put you in your place, and you don’t want that!
As Born-again, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing Christians, it is our duty and privilege to go to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ and, with thanksgiving, make our petitions known to Him. To call Him “Father” requires a relationship; that relationship would put us in a position to know Him and know His will, and knowing His will, we would never ask for things that are not according to nor within it.
Scripture tells us, “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Let Him give you the desires of your heart. God has the very best in mind for you, better than what you have for yourself. And if you genuinely believe that, you should come expecting that God our Father will apply His perfect solution to whatever may be troubling you. Come expecting, expect an awesome God!
Bondservant to Jesus Christ, Married to Michele, Dad to Madelyn, Claudia, and Joseph and educator by trade, apologist by calling and saved by Grace. Antonio loves to read, write, and discuss all-things-apologetics. He has many passions in life including reaching, teaching, and keeping men for Jesus Christ. Waiting on God’s big reveal: Antonio knows He has something beautiful in mind.