There are a couple places where the Bible indicates that believers should pray and then assume that what they’ve asked for will be received, because of their faith. Jesus himself indicates as much when He says that if you pray for a mountain to throw itself into the sea, it will as long as we have prayed in faith.
I have to assume He was speaking at least somewhat metaphorically. Or was an idiot. Those seem the only options that wouldn’t be hugely disappointing if I prayed for a literal mountain to go take a swim.
We skip over some important things in those types of texts. Part of what we overlook is that there seems to be some indication that what we are praying for has to be within God’s will and for His glory. (In which case, if God willed it anyway, was our prayer really necessary?) There is also an indication that we have some personal responsibility in the issue. That we are to be praying for things only that would glorify God–that the results of our prayers would be to HIS glory and of HIS plan. And that we would be praying with pure hearts.
It’s probably a good thing that prayer comes with some limitations. I mean… I don’t know about you, but when I pray I tend to do it pretty selfishly. I spend very little time on any aspect other than asking God for stuff. And my list of requests rarely has any particular wording expressing anything remotely similar to, “please cause such-and-such to happen so that your name will be glorified.” It’s more like, “…and if I have to bring it up again, it’s going to get ugly!” There’s little “glory” in how I pray when something’s important to me. There’s just “need.” Or something like it…even if I’m actually praying for something that I DO think is His will. Maybe even especially so…
If I were to take what looks on the surface to be the Bible’s advice and pray in a way that assumed I’m going to receive what I pray for and it actually WORKED that way, I have absolutely no doubt that I’d abuse it. I’d be swimming in beautiful women…I’d be down to my college-weight…I’d be rich, famous, have vast property… Even Kings David and Solomon themselves would be ashamed of me. And that’s probably why God limits it.
Lately I’ve been praying about something that I THINK is in God’s will for me. (That or it’s Satan lying to me, convincing me it’s God’s will–which has happened before…) It really does SEEM like the kind of thing God would want for me. And I think I’ve even maybe gotten some “signs” to that effect…but there have also been some roadblocks, too. I’m torn on it. And confused. And I’m praying and I’m trying SO hard not to do it selfishly, and I’m failing at it, and maybe that explains the roadblocks…?
I’m supposed to pray, knowing that if its God’s will I’ve already received it. And I’m supposed to do it in His name and with a pure heart.
And I don’t have a pure heart. Not close.
So maybe that’s what I’m supposed to be praying for? Maybe it’s less about the thing I want and I’m supposed to assume I’m going to GET than it is the way I’m supposed to be before I get it? Isn’t that more important anyway? And if I had the pure heart…would getting what I want really even matter in the first place?
And why do I always think of stuff like this at 3 in the morning?