Not My Will But Yours
By Michelle Lazurek
I have a confession to make:
I don’t know how to pray.
I’ve prayed my entire life, but I don’t pray the way God wants to pray, or even as His example demonstrates.
God revealed this to me while I was driving to a conference last year. God did not speak harshly to me, but in His gentle way convicted my heart in a way only His Spirit can do.
God gently asked me, “Why don’t you come to Me when you want things?” Immediately, my heart ached. In response, I started to cry. Then He gave me a vision of my hand, and when I opened my hand I saw a stone.
I had always thought I came to God in prayer and asked God for what I wanted, but in that moment, I realized I came to God, but I didn’t expect Him to grant the desires of my heart. In fact, I came to Him much like small children running to their parents, expecting them to become a genie in a bottle to grant my every desire. But when He says no, I pump my fist in the air and I kick the sand, and I don’t want to talk to Him anymore. I feel defeated – what would be the purpose of speaking to Him if He’s not going to give me what I asked, right?
I came to God much like Luke describes in chapter 11:11-13: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I would ask Him for what I wanted, my desires. Some were selfish, others were selfless. I did the obligatory pray for friends, relatives, etc. But in the back of my mind, I doubted. I didn’t expect God to move miraculously in my life. I’m not even sure I even expected Him to answer the request positively. The Christian life for me has not been easy. The road to becoming a disciple has been a rocky one. I’ve had a lot of disappointments that have calloused my heart against coming to God in boldness. My lack of prayer has even affected my level of faith.
God is the author of our prayers. He knows everything you will pray from now until the day you die. He put the desires of our hearts within us so we can ask Him and increase our faith. The purpose of our prayers is not for God; its purpose is to change us.
Maybe you can relate to my prayer struggles. Maybe you, like me, have kicked sand and ignored God after you didn’t get what you wanted. If I can increase my prayer life, and ultimately my faith, then so can you.
Here are three ways for you to pray God-sized prayers:
Pray With Expectation
Matthew 7:8-11 says, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Oftentimes I pray for what I want, but not what I need. God always gives us what we need, whether or not we even know we need it.
When the disciples ask Jesus how to pray He replies with this: Luke 11:1-3 “… He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.”’ We need to be asking God for our daily needs every day. Nothing should be taken for granted. All of our physical, emotiona, and material needs will be met by Him, but He wants us to ask Him. That was what God was saying to me that day. I want things, but I don’t come with the expectation that what I receive in return will meet my needs.
Pray with Determination
Luke 11:5-8 says, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though He will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity He will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
“So I say to you: 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.”
My son and daughter know how to play the system. They normally come to me when they want something and about half of the time, I say no. Sometimes they get smart, and when I’m not in the room and they ask my husband, because, unlike me, more often than not he says yes. My kids know whom to go to get what they want. Perhaps that is why we are told to enter the Kingdom of God like a child; because your daddy gives you gifts as he deems fit. They don’t have any fear or worry that they won’t get it from their dad, because history has dictated that more often than not, they will get what they want from him if only they ask.
Do you pray like this? Do you pray with the shameless audacity as in this fear? Or do you pry with fear or doubt that god will provide for your needs?
Pray with Satisfaction
Jesus Himself teaches us how to pray. When He prays in the garden, He says in Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” God is not afraid to go to His Daddy either. He minces no words, and tells God exactly what He wants. He prays God sized-prayers, too. But as much as it is the desire of His heart to not have to endure the pain of the cross, He also must have known the purpose and reason behind His life on earth and that it could only be a miracle that he would not have to go through this because he knew his father’s heart and knew that God’s will is that none should perish, but all have eternal life. So, he prays with contentment. He prays “Not my will, but yours.”
Do you pray with contentment that what we will receive in return for our prayers will benefit not only us, but will be in the best interest of the world?