I’ve heard people say that when they pray, and ask God for something, they pray specifically. Not a thing wrong with that. 1 John 5:15 says: And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of him. It says whatever we ask right? More on that later. Right down to the make and model, people pray for their next car. Right down to his or her height, weight, hair color, build and complexion, people pray for a spouse. There can’t be anything wrong with praying for what you want when scripture explicitly states: Delight yourself also in the Lord, And he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4). Seems like a body can’t go wrong. Seems.
There’s a great quote I read on social media recently, it said, ‘Sometimes God will give you exactly what you wanted just to show you it’s not all you needed.’ I think there’s an element of truth in the statement. When I read it, my mind was immediately brought to Psalm 106. Verses 12-15 say: Then they believed his words; They sang his praise. They soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel; But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. In summary we see that God had been good to the children of Israel on the heels of the miracle at the Red Sea. As long as they believed His Word, they were able to praise Him. However when they took their eyes off Him (because this is inevitably how it happens), they forgot Him and His good works, and because their focus was now on self, began to lust after evil things. They no longer sought after Him or waited to hear from Him for their life’s direction. God in turn, because they persisted in this behavior, gave them what they were asking for. This then triggered an emptiness, a scantiness and leanness in their souls. They now could no longer enjoy fellowship with the Lord. Why did this happen? It happened because what they received from the Lord was not what He wanted them to have! This is a natural consequence many times of getting what we want when what we want is outside the circle of His will.
If 1 John 5:15 is isolated it would seem as though it says that no matter what you want, just ask and receive. God is supposed to give me the desires of my heart, right? Well, when your desires line up with His will, yes, because in 1 John 5:14 it says: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. (italics mine). Remember that He is not bound by your word but by His. Our wish is not His command. I heard a pastor say just the other day that we should command our needs to God and He will answer. He cited Isaiah 45:11 which says in part: Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. The sermon was entitled ‘On Demand Prayer.’ What a horrible and despicable twisting of scripture! Trying to get people to believe that all we have to do is command the Lord and He will come through! If you tell people a good sounding lie long enough, they will believe it. No, the prayers God will answer in His time are those in accordance with His will. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:32b). Delighting ourselves in the Lord means submitting ourselves to His will and being satisfied with it; even if it seems not to be what I wanted.
James says that the reason we don’t get what we want when we pray is because we ask improperly and seek to consume or waste it upon our own desires. (James 4:3). The bottom line is this; we do not tell God what we want, rather we ask Him for what we need. Keeping myself firmly entrenched within the circle of His will and delighting myself in Him, will ensure that I will receive the petitions I have asked of Him. So that I do not receive leanness in my soul, dissatisfaction and wind up regretting receiving what I thought I wanted, I need to be careful what I ask for. If I don’t do this, I may be asking for trouble.
That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.