I still remember the first time I got to experience the Scholastic Book Fair in all its splendor. I was about 6. While the Book Fair was one of the best days of school (second only to Field Day, of course), there was a catch. See, your parents could send a list of items for you to buy. The librarians wouldn’t let you get anything that wasn’t on your list. Of course that’s what my parents did because I was convinced they existed only to ruin my life and crush my dreams. There were kids who just showed up with cash and could buy whatever they wanted. I was not that kid. No.
There was always one table at the Book Fair that wasn’t books. There were pens, pencils, stickers, and small toys. Of course, that was every kid’s favorite table. I mean, who wants to buy books at a book fair when there’s toys?
There was a crayon I wanted. In one crayon, there were several different colors. I wanted it so badly. Of course, my parents said no. Again, I was so convinced their entire mission in life was to be a fun-sucker. They told me, “Kristin, you have tons of crayons. You don’t need more.” Like I said…life-ruiners.
So, if mom and dad said no, I’d go over their head. Yeah! I would go directly to the big guy upstairs! I prayed for this crayon. I prayed like my life depended on it. For a crayon. I truly expected to wake up and find this crayon beside my bad. As you can imagine, I did not. This was the first time I remember truly feeling disappointed. All I wanted was one little crayon! Was that so much to ask?
Now, okay, I was six. You can’t expect much spiritual maturity from a child. I didn’t understand that God was not a magic genie in the sky who grants our wishes. I understand that now. I know I can’t pray for a brand-new BMW and expect to find one has magically appeared in my driveway.
However, I still shake my fist at Heaven when I don’t get my way.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
- We pray because we’ve been commanded do. (Romans 12:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- We pray because Jesus prayed, and He is our example. (Matthew 14:23)
- We praying during times of temptation (Luke 22:40)
- We pray for answers. (James 1:5)
- We pray for strength (1 Chronicles 16:11)
- We pray for forgiveness (2 Chronicles 6:21, 7:14)
Yes, we can bring specific requests before God. However, going back to 1 John 5:14, what we pray for must be within accordance to His will.
What it comes down to is this: you can pray about whatever you want, but you may not like God’s answer. He will either say yes, not now, or no. Do you trust God even when He says no? Do you believe that He knows better than you? Are you at peace, even when God doesn’t give you what you want?
Speaking, of course, in broad generalities, the majority of us are pretty self-centered. When we shake our fist at Heaven, because God hasn’t given us what we want, we’re basically throwing an adult-sized tantrum. We want what we want exactly when we want it and if we don’t get it, we kick and scream, and pound our fists.
God loves us. He is for us. That should comfort us, not frustrate us. When God doesn’t give us our way, we should rejoice, because God knows what is best for His children! As an adult, I know why mom didn’t let me buy that crayon I wanted. It was very expensive and it would have gotten lost in the bottom of our toy barrel like every other trinket I had to have. The books that I was allowed to buy stayed on our shelves and we had them for years. Much better investment…
It’s much easier to see the big picture when you can step back a little bit. Sometimes, life is like weaving a tapestry: it seems a bit messy up close, until you step back and it all comes into focus.
When God says no, remember He is for you. He loves you. He is perfect and His ways our good. If that doesn’t comfort you, well, you can pray about that, too! 😉
Take care and God bless!