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Can You Ask God for Too Much in Prayer?

I try to make it a point to have prayer time with God. Like officially sit-at-the-kitchen-table-with-my-Bible prayer. The Bible is a good touch, you know. I might get some kind of divine thought or something. Add a cup of coffee and I feel like I can really check my list off of “goody two-shoes.” But you know what? When I don’t do that, I tend to feel guilty. When I don’t always set aside time, I start to feel bad about it. Like God is getting upset with me and maybe I’m not going to get answered prayers or receive some special blessing.

One morning as I had finally sat down to just relax, I thought, “Oh, this is a perfect time to pray!” Right away I started to get that feeling. Guilt. The feeling started to grow when while I was praying, I realized I was asking for a lot of things. Everything was a request, a concern, a worry, or a stress. Asking God to help heal this, bring restoration to this, bring peace to this, and thanking Him for being faithful and guiding me. I decided to look up “prayer” in my Bible’s topical concordance. The first verse that was listed was 1 Timothy 2:1-3:

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

You know, this doesn’t say anything about asking God too much or too often is a bad thing. Check out Luke 11:10:

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.

I mentioned I had concerns and worries. One of my favorite verses about prayer and worry is found in Philippians. I think this might be a popular one for many of us in our prayer life. Philippians 4:6-7:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

When I used to read that verse, I always felt some sort of assurance or affirmation that it was good for me to always ask God for help. As silly as that sounds, I think as humans we tend to take that human open-book-981405_640feeling of guilt for asking too much and apply to our relationship with God–which is definitely not human. Not even close to the same characteristics in our human relationships. God is unconditional in his love for us. All he asks is that we believe that. In John 15 Jesus said that if we “make ourselves at home with me, [Jesus] and my words are at home in you, you can be sure whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (MSG Bible).

I realized that I let myself not feel “at home with God” because I thought I wasn’t following some little routine in my relationship with him. I am a person of routine but God doesn’t make me feel this way. What a lie Satan wants us to believe. Another measure we put on ourselves and believe that it comes from God. I find myself having to purposefully pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to remind me of God’s Word and truth. I sure can’t remember it all. And feeling bad about not always remembering is certainly not what God wants. He wants us to ask for help. He wants us to ask for His revelation, He wants us to ask. Asking is part of our free will in our relationship with Him. Asking sounds like a foundational element in our relationship with Him. 

Being “at home” with someone is a comfortable conversation that might happen over coffee. It also means I can be comfortable when I’m at my worst. I can pour my heart out and not worry that God only sees me as a minion who always asks for stuff. If you really start to think about it, we most likely pray and talk with God all the time. An utterance in the car while waiting at the light, thinking about your Mom who is probably missing her mom she lost some years ago, especially around the holidays. The quick praise when you are glad to find out that your little one made a new friend today and he’s been struggling at his new school. After all, you might have asked God to help your little one at school and probably wouldn’t being saying a quick praise if you hadn’t asked to begin with.  Who knows!

Sometimes when I’m asking, I feel like there’s no answer. I never see an answer. I can’t find one anywhere. I feel like my prayer just goes to God and I don’t hear anything back. I might even start to get angry about it. Frustrated that all I do is ask and don’t receive. The only “answer” I feel like I have for this is like what Jesus mentioned earlier about how prayer is not some kind of game, like hide-and-seek. I come to God with full faith, (OK, maybe not full faith alllll the time), knowing that I am making my requests known to him, but this also means that I am trusting Him. Knowing that He is in control. Sometimes asking for his help or for healing doesn’t necessarily mean that specifically what I asked for was answered, but you know what I almost ALWAYS experience, a reassurance that God is with me. His peace washes over me. In a way, that is an answered prayer. Having God’s incomprehensible peace hold you. That alone makes “asking” worth it. So keep on asking.

Peace,
Glo

Can you ask God for too much in prayer? Do you find yourself feeling stuck in your prayer life?

 

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

I’ve never been one to agree with the phrase “Everything happens for a reason,” but I’ve got to say, I feel like the answer to this is “yes.” If you really think about it, clearly the answer is yes. I had been praying for the people in California and the ugliness those families are going through. The heart ache. The pain. I began to be overwhelmed with the feeling of how much hurting there is in the world and I always seem to find myself asking God why does this happen. I know I’m definitely not the first to ask this. So many have given their own answers to this. I can only share where I’m at and what I feel the Spirit ministering to me.

Yes, there is a reason for bad things that happen. Sin. God gave us free will and choice, and because of that, we have sin. We have awful things that people choose to do to other people. We have flawed human bodies that are capable of producing life-threatening sicknesses. I don’t think I’ve ever really meditated on what it means to live in a “fallen” world.

I know sin began with Adam and Eve in the garden and their choice for sin (stupid tree), instead of what God had for them, but when I start to think about that, I yet again, find myself asking God, why did you even have to put the tree there? Why couldn’t we have all been happy and perfectly content to only know You and live in blind joy with one another? Why do You allow sin?

This might seem weird, but I immediately thought of a scene from Hunger Games when Katniss and Peta arrive at the party in the Capital and are offered a drink. The party goer explained that if you get full, you take a drink and it will make you throw up so you can keep on eating and try all the different foods.

The people at the capital had NO IDEA what it meant to be hungry. They didn’t know what it meant to savor a bite. Relish in the opportunity to have a full meal and to go to bed without starving for once. As Peta mentions, people are starving and they are throwing up food to eat more!


God loves us too much to keep us in a box of blind joy.


He wants us to know what it means to really experience unconditional love. To savor it. Relish it. By giving us free will, we will know what it means to be starving. To be so hungry for something that we can’t hardly live without it. We will know what it means to experience a pain that is unbearable. To feel like we have nothing. We will know what it means to feel hopeless. Yet. you can only truly know what you have if you know what it’s like to not have it. There have been times in my life when I felt truly hopeless and alone. In those moments, I had to surrender myself and let God wrap me in His arms. I mean TRULY let myself experience His love. His forgiveness. His grace. That can be a tough choice when you are full of anger.Does Everything Happen

I think of so many stories in the Bible when bad things happened to people who didn’t deserve them. Do you think God wanted Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery? To be thrown in jail for years for being falsely accused of rape? Do you think God wanted David to have Bathsheba’s husband killed on the front lines in battle? Do you think God wanted Job to lose everything, including his family? Those awful things happened because someone somewhere had a choice to make and he chose selfishly. What is amazing in those stories is how God is faithful. He never left them. He was there, holding them. He was there to lift Job out of his pit of despair. He was there when Joseph was alone in prison.

I love it when Joseph’s brothers finally realize their brother is the big man in charge during the famine in Egypt and as he reveals himself to his brothers, who thought he was probably dead after all these years, Joseph says to them, “God sent me ahead to pave the way…it wasn’t you who sent me here but God.” Joseph could have easily blamed his brothers for choosing what they did. Instead, he saw God’s faithfulness in it all. He chose to see God and let himself experience whatever it was God had for him. God revealed himself to Joseph during his trials. In Genesis 39, scripture says that “God was with Joseph.” Joseph experienced God’s faithfulness, during what seemed to be Joseph’s end of the rope. Joseph had been “starving” for years, and God satiated him.

There are so many starving in the world. So much ugliness. But then, there is so much beauty. So many people reaching out to the hurting in the world. So many working to feed the hungry, to educate the homeless. So many who are trying to help the starving find their way to God. Yes, there are a lot of bad things that happen, but I believe that God is always faithful during times we don’t understand. Believing that is not always an easy choice, but I choose it. I’ve seen the evidence of his faithfulness operating through others. The neighbor who drops by a bag of food because she thought the family might need it. The school who decided to raise money for a little girl with cancer.

We don’t always get the answers. We go through something that may never make sense to us. But God can make sense for you. He can bring order out of chaos. Man can choose ugly things, but God is available to anyone who believes, and He can hold you during the ugly times and He’ll be there during the joyful times too.

Because then, in those moments, you’ll truly know what it means to be alive.

Peace,
Glo

 

 

Does everything happen for a reason? Seeking God when you feel confused in your faith in understanding why things happen.