In our last post, we touched on the idea that removing reproach, like providing healing, may not always be God’s temporal plan for our lives. In this final post of our second Asking God sermon series, we will finish up by looking at Psalm 119:40 through the lens of petitionary prayer.
“Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me through Your righteousness.” – Psalms 119:40 NASB
Clearly, and for the reasons we saw in verses 37 and 38, this too is a “B” pattern prayer. We also learned a few weeks ago that Psalm 119 reiterates God’s desire and willingness to revive His people repeatedly.
Last week I confessed that when it comes to petitionary prayer, I’ve struggled with an either-or approach. EITHER I want to always employ pattern A; “if it’s your will, Lord.” What I call the “God’s going to do what God’s going to do” approach. OR I tend to pray for things I “feel” or want to be promises from God. Which, as I said, is mostly an attempt to convince my faith to fall in line with my imagination. This results in absurdly claiming promises that are simply not meant for me or it results in me chasing that ever-elusive right “level of faith” so I can get what I want.Does our approach to prayer result in absurdly claiming promises that are simply not meant for us? Does it result in chasing that ever-elusive right “level of faith” to get what we want. We must understand #prayer better. Click To Tweet
If we understand that there are multiple kinds of petitionary prayers, and we are willing to search the Scriptures for what they teach about God’s actual promises, I am confident that we will begin to pray more accurately. We will know that there are prayers that we can confidently pray, adding no disclaimers whatsoever. While also knowing that there are prayers that we still pray in faith understanding that God may have a reason for not giving us what we ask.
C.S. Lewis once said:
“That wisdom must sometimes refuse what ignorance may quite innocently ask seems to me self-evident.”
It should be a no-brainer that we have a lot to learn with respect to God’s will and how petitionary prayer works.
Which brings in the issue of maturity. I was raised being taught that once a person was born again, they were able to access all things that are a part of the Kingdom, including what was “purchased” in the atonement. This, of course, required agreement as to what is included in the atonement, which no one to this day can agree on. Nonetheless, in having access to this fuller life Christians were to function at top capacity. This meant whatever Jesus did we should do. Not to mention the “greater things” Jesus spoke of in John 14:12.
This meant healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and more (whatever more is). However, what this view doesn’t take into account is the process of maturity. I can honestly say to my kids that they are full members of my household, and that that comes with safety, security, protection, and countless other things. But I don’t mean by that membership that they can turn on the stove anytime they choose or take the car for a spin; things which come with time, training, and maturity.
Likewise, we as children of God belong to Him, 100% Kingdom citizens! But that doesn’t mean God has given us the reigns to the Kingdom without reservation. We have much growing to do, and until that growth takes place, we are to run to the Father for His approval on a great many things. Please hear me though, this is not a lack of faith but rather a display of true faith in action!
Petitionary prayer is no simple activity. Apart from God retaining some discretionary power to grant or refuse a petition in certain circumstances, prayer would be too dangerous for us to wield. But apart from God actually granting prayers by faith, the Scriptures would be contradictory (which we know they cannot be).#Prayer is no simple activity. Apart from God retaining some discretionary power to grant or refuse a petition in certain circumstances, prayer would be too dangerous for us to wield. Click To Tweet
Take your prayer life seriously. Stop just winging it. Search the scriptures. Let them teach you what God has promised and what God desires you to come to Him with first. Let the scriptures and not your traditions inform you. Remain humble. And whatever else you do remember to trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean to your own understanding!
Questions for Application
- Which type of prayer (A or B) is fitting for your circumstance? If you don’t know, search the scriptures and see what they say.
- How can you pray by faith in either situation?
- Do I have unwavering faith?
- Am I prepared in advance for refusal?
- Should we pray “if it’s God’s will?”
- Is this a fake humility or a false spirituality or neither?