I often compare the relationship of children with their caregivers and the relationship I have with my heavenly Father. How children communicate with their caregivers is quite indicative of how I’ve communicated with God.
One common communication behavior of a child is begging. Sometimes their desires are so intense they feel they have to beg. Children can be relentless, often demanding for an answer now! But, if a caregiver denied them what they wanted it was because they didn’t need it, it was unsafe for them, or they could benefit from it at a later time.
I have often exhibited these same relentless, demanding behaviors when
praying or begging God! I want an answer now! But, am I truly opening up my heart to hear God’s response? Maybe God knows I don’t need what I’m asking from Him. Maybe God’s telling me that my desires are unsafe for myself or others. Maybe God has decided that I could benefit more from it at a later point in time.
As a little child matures, they learn to better accept (or at least tolerate) their caregiver’s response. As I mature more in Christ, I can better accept the response of my loving Father. No matter what His answer may be.
In scripture, Jesus instructs me to pray by simply asking. But God’s response will be in accordance with His will and His timing.
- Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.- Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
- Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.– Mark 11:24 (NIV)
- And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.- John 14:13-14 (NIV)
In all of these scriptural guidelines, ask translates to beg, call for, crave, desire, require. It’s human nature for us to beg. But, begging should not be mistaken for being demanding. It should not foster a selfish attitude if I do not get an answer immediately. It should not cause me to internalize negative feelings about my own worth or the value of my prayers.
I have taken some time to seek guidelines regarding the attitude of my heart when praying to my heavenly Father. I have no doubt that you, too, will benefit.
- Acknowledge His power. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.- Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)
- Understand He hears me. I will answer them before they even call to me.
While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!- Isaiah 65:24 (NLT)
- Believe nothing is too big or too small. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.– Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
- Have faith the slightest probability becomes the greatest possibility. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”– Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
- Be confident (free and fearless). And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.- 1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)
- Be humble (submit self in a lowly spirit). So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.- 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)
- Never give up in prayer and gratitude. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.- 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NLT)
God’s word is our instruction manual. He has given us a clear guideline for how we should pray. Sure, we may feel the need to beg. As long as our attitudes are pure and our hearts dwell on these scriptures, we can more easily accept the response of our heavenly Father. Just like a matured child!
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”- Romans 12:12 (NIV)