Or, football games. You’ve got Christians on both teams praying to win. You’ve got fans in the stands or in front of a TV praying to win. Who gets God’s favor?
Or, a person with great dreams begging God for success? God’s got to look at much more than desire to determine if what they are asking is best. What if my idea of success ruins another person’s life? Or, gets in the way of future plans God has for me? Or, turns me into the kind of person I don’t want to be? What if my plans aren’t God’s plans?
Isaiah wrote: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
That’s why I don’t always get what I ask for. My thoughts don’t come up to the level of God’s thoughts and my ways are far inferior to His ways. Not only do I not have the perspective He has, I don’t know what’s best in every situation. He does.
If I throw up to Him a list of preferences and desires, He sorts through them with greater patience and understanding than I used to create them. Much of my praying is impulsive. I have no idea what I’m really asking for. Fortunately God isn’t obligated to me to do what I ask. He loves me too much. He is obligated to do what’s best. That’s His promise—working things out for good—accomplishing good as He determines it.
I may pray for someone’s healing when God’s ready to take them home. I may ask for comfort when discomfort will accomplish a greater purpose. I may beg for mercy when justice is God’s intention. Not that it’s wrong to ask, only wrong to assume God is being unfaithful if His answer doesn’t match what we asked for.
So, when it comes to praying, I’ll continue to ask but I trust God will answer, not according to what I’m asking for, but according to what He knows is best.