Prayer. Calling on the Lord. Talking to God. Beseeching. Pleading. Crying out. Falling on your face. Interceding. Asking. Seeking. Knocking. What a subject! What a vital topic.
Think of the promises of prayer, the practitioners of prayer, and the power of prayer that the Bible reveals.
Jesus taught His church to pray in Matthew 6:5-15. He demanded that His people not pray like the hypocrites or the heathen. He then gave a positive promise for prayer, a pattern for prayer, and then a negative promise.
Jesus was a mighty man of prayer. He poured out His soul to His Father. He prayed with absolute confidence that God heard Him and would fulfill His will through prayer.
There’s so much to learn and so much to teach and so much to practice about prayer. For this post though, I want to provoke you to think about something the Bible reveals about this holy exercise that is really not discussed much. Actually, I don’t remember ever hearing it preached on and I’m a week away from turning 40, have been in church my entire life, have been saved by the grace of God since 2 days before I turned 12, and have been preaching just about non-stop since I was 15. I was also raised in the home of a Baptist pastor who preached through books of the Bible in the expositional manner and is still doing so today. Now, in fairness to Dad, and other men of God who I look up to and learn from, I repeat that I don’t remember ever hearing it preached. That doesn’t mean men haven’t, but just that I am probably one of many, many believers who might need to have this pointed out.
To be direct, the Bible actually reveals that there are times when we need to just accept some things in life, and stop praying that the person, circumstance, or _________ (you fill it in) will change.
Now, before you accuse me of disagreeing with the plain command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), let me be clear that, of course, we should never cease praying to God while on our pilgrim journey. However, Scripture does indicate that some requests need to be dropped and we just need to accept the answer we have been given.
Remember how Moses went beyond the commandment of God and smote the rock twice in Numbers 20:7-12? God had said for Moses and Aaron to “speak to the rock,” but Moses did some ministry his way instead of God’s way (yes, you should click on that!). Because of that violation God told Moses, “Ye shall not bring this congregation into the land…” But, in Deuteronomy 3:25 we find Moses praying that God would let him go into the Promised Land. How did the LORD respond? “Speak no more unto me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:26). Moses already knew the Word of God concerning the matter so he was to just accept it. I don’t know about you, but I find this very interesting. If Moses continued to ask God to let him go into the land then Moses would have been sinning by uttering that request.
I’ve got some other examples of this, but this is a blog post, so I’ll just give one more and keep it short. Three times Paul begged God to take away his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). How did the Lord respond? “My grace is sufficient for thee…” Paul had to just accept that the thorn in the flesh was not going away, but neither would the overcoming, wonderful grace of God that would continually enable him to do God’s will for God’s glory. So, Paul went from beseeching God to blessing God with, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities …”
What about you? Is there something you have begged God to do, but it really is not consistent with His will that is revealed in His Word? Do you have a situation that you have begged Him to get you out of? Do you have a physical problem that you keep asking Him to deliver you from? Is it time to discontinue bringing it up during every church prayer meeting? It might be a wonderful testimony to someone else who is also struggling with accepting the burden God has privileged them to bear. I know from personal experience, it is difficult; but by the grace of God, is it time to just accept it and go on for His glory?