Text: Luke 11:5-13, Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 22:39-44, James 5:13-18
Of the many types of prayer in the Christian life, petition is often the most common. Whether we are crying out, begging, sending a quick thought up, or in a group assembling requests – our prayers tend to lean toward us asking the Lord to grant what we want or need. This is a beautiful and good thing, since He created us to come to Him and live in relationship with Him.
Still, if God is sovereign and all knowing, why bother asking Him to do or change anything? If you pray for one thing and get another, does that mean He wasn’t listening? Does it mean that you didn’t ask with the right words or with enough fervor or faith?
We ask from God what we believe we need, but we submit what we ask to His all wise, all good plan and we say like Jesus, “Not my will, but your will be done.” (Luke 22:42) One example of this would be Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where he asks for the cup of wrath to be removed from him (that’s his petition), but he submits his petition to the will of the Father, for he trusts what God would give him more than what he would ask. In that instance, Jesus did not “get” what he prayed for, but he got the better (albeit harder) thing–the cross unto the crown.
When we pray in petition “according to God’s will,” we know that God will answer it. For instance, if we pray for “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” that is a prayer that God is inclined to answer, for that is a prayer that is God’s heart. At the same time, how that kingdom comes and how that will is done will be done according to God’s time and in God’s way. So, it’s not a magic formula or some incantation where we get God to do our thing, but it is a confident petitioning in faith that however God wants to answer this prayer, he certainly will because it’s a prayer that aligns with his heart.
While God has had one decree from the beginning of time, we know that a sure part of that decree is that we live in relationship with Him, and even petition Him. His Word tells us so.
Ask – because He wants to meet your needs. Seek, because you’ll find Him faithful. Knock, because your persistent pursuit of relationship with Him will find you nothing but peace and sustainment.