While driving through the Ozarks for a rare day of fly fishing on my favorite trout stream, I read this on a church sign:
“Search God's Word for Promises that Match Your Requests;
and then Remind Him of What He Promised.”
I probably should have just kept my mind on the prospect of a great day on the trout stream, but I seem to be powerless to overlook my tendency to read things some people say about God and His word, and then think to myself, “Huh?”
Is this really how we are supposed to feed ourselves on God's living, life-giving Word?
Are we really supposed to decide all the things we would like for God to give us and then look for out-of-context "proof texts" to justify our asking for them?
Is it wise for me to think of myself as the one who should be reminding the Sovereign God of what I think He has “promised”?
Does He have a memory problem such that He needs us to remind Him of what He inspired people to write in His name??
n'tOr should we approach the Word as the mirror that lovingly diagnoses where we miss His image and encourages us in how to trust Him for our on-going growth and sanctification?
Shouldn't we read the Word as a mirror that dramatically reminds us that Christ is living in us and keeps telling us where we, the clay, should put our faith, so the Potter can keep molding and purifying us?
And concerning asking for what we need, didn't He instruct us to remember that since we are "more valuable to the Father than all other created things" (Matt.6:26), then shouldn't we simply pray, "Let Your will be done within us; and give us today, what we need for today"? (Matt.6:11)
It seems to me that my greatest need is not finding Bible verses to justify asking Him for stuff I want, but searching the Scriptures to understand the heart of my Father, and what He has created me to become. I know I repeat this in each book I write, but let me say it again; we need to search His Word to know what God is really like and how He really feels about us.
Then, when I do “present my requests to God", as He invites me to (Phil 4:6), I will ask in peace and rest; giving my Father complete freedom to choose when, where and how He will answer my requests.
His plans for me have always better than my plans for me, anyway.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV)
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.