Prodigal Post – Vending Machine Mentality

"Ask and you shall receive!" Matthew 7:7

That’s what the Bible says, right?

How often do we pray and pray and expect God to answer on our timeline? Even if what we are praying about is a need and not a want, should we pray with the expectation that our Father will answer immediately? I think if we do, we will most often be disappointed.

Should we pray and bring our requests and needs to God? ABSOLUTELY!! We are instructed to do so.

A couple of weeks ago, I overheard a part of a conversation where someone was getting frustrated at God because their prayer had not been answered. If memory serves, they had been praying for a couple of days. I don’t say this to make fun at all. I have been guilty of the same thing in years past. I write this because I remember a conversation about the same topic. What is the condition of our heart when we are praying? Are we approaching God like we approach a vending machine? We drop some coinage, push a button, and our request is delivered? Or are we approaching with reverence that God can see a MUCH bigger picture in the grand scheme of things? What if the very things we are praying for, if answered, would lead to a worsening of the situation or could lead us away from the path that our heavenly Father desires for us? I am sure that I’ve missed the path MANY times in the past, but all I can do now is to pray and rely on our Daddy to show me how all of this will play out.

Here’s an example. A couple of weeks before September 10, 2002, my grandmother was lying in a hospital bed and not doing very well at all. All of the family and friends were praying diligently that God would heal her body so she could return to life as normal. I was living/working about an hour or so away, so I was not able to visit as I had hoped. But one night, I was able to get away for a visit. The visitation times were very limited, so I met my granddad at the hospital and we went in to visit. I was somewhat taken aback as she didn’t look much like the quirky, eccentric grandmother I had last seen, but I knew I was in the correct room. I went over to the bedside and pulled up a chair. I leaned in and asked her if she knew who I was. She blinked, as that was about all she had the strength to do. So, I held her hand and prayed quietly. After some time, I felt a deep sadness in my chest. A sadness I haven’t felt since. I knew what I had to say, but I felt like a traitor to my family. I leaned in and told her that I loved her, and that if she needed to go and be with Jesus, if He was calling her home, we would be sad, but we would be okay. When I went to sit back in the chair, I saw one single tear rolling down her cheek. Within a week or so, she was welcomed into her eternal home with Jesus.

While I was praying, I felt it selfish to pray that she be healed, especially if she needed to rest and not suffer anymore. I can honestly say that I’ve carried a lot of guilt over the years with letting her know it was okay to go Home. I’m at peace with it now though.

What if we prayed in a way where we make room for our Father to do what He desires with our prayers? I mean, in a way, that’s how followers of Jesus start out praying when they confess that they can’t do life on their own and that they ask Jesus to fill their hearts and lives, right? They pray with a broad expectation rather than "this is what I need and I need it soon/now."

I encourage us all to pray with open expectations without a timeline, if at all possible. The Father knows the hearts of His children. He knows what we need even before we even speak a word, right? Along with those open expectations, I encourage us to pray that Daddy will show us His plan and how all of life’s troubles will draw us closer to Him.

I think that’s all for today, my friends. If you ever need prayer, you can reply to this email or catch the Prayer Requests – Prodigals group on Facebook. You are loved and prayed for, my friends.

Until the next post…

Photo credit: Jenna Hamra

~Prodigal Mike

Author: ProdigalMike

Follower of Jesus Christ. Husband of one woman. Father of four. Worshipper. God has been continually molding me into a worship leader over the last 21 years. I am on a musical journey with my family to become more like Christ. Join in!

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