request |riˈkwest|(noun) an act of asking politely or formally for something
When you ask a friend for something, do you get upset or offended if they say “no”? My kids have heard me say many times, if you aren’t willing to accept a “no”, then you aren’t really asking, you’re demanding and that is disrespectful.
Maybe you are the type who has a hard time saying “no”. If so, you most likely have a hard time understanding why anyone else would say “no” to your request... including God.
Evelyn Christenson in What Happens When Women Pray offers this advice to those putting together prayer requests for a group, “When they ask you to pray that such and such will happen, tell them kindly, ‘We do not pray answers, we pray requests.’”
Somehow are western Christian culture has made prayer something like a government social services office. We think we have to fill out all the right forms for what we want then we just wait to see if it gets approved. If it doesn’t then we blame the system.
Our God is a caring Father. There are no forms, no please take a number, no red tape. Prayer is simply a conversation with a loving daddy who always wants what is absolutely best for us. And, contrary to the way some pray, he is able and willing to do far more than we can even ask or imagine because his ways are higher than our ways. He sees more than we see. He knows more than we know.
When my kids ask something of me, I want to give them what’s best for them. Sometimes I have a different perspective and can meet their needs and even their seemingly selfish desires in ways that they would never have thought of. This is much easier to do when they come to me with the desire of their heart and then allow me to share my heart for them regarding that desire. If they come to me demanding their request be met only as they see it, they are very likely to be disappointed.
Our requests to God offer the same opportunity. When you are making a request of God, remember that he sees the bigger picture. The boss that irritates you, the financial situation you are in, the illness you’ve struggled with for years, God is fully aware of all of it and he truly cares. He wants to share his heart on the subject.
Instead of offering God the solution to your problems, seek his heart. I guarantee you will find a peace that is beyond explanation when your prayers are focused more on his heart’s desire than yours.