Have you ever wanted something so bad that you asked God that if He would just make it happen you would be the best Christian you could ever be? How many of those things worked out for ya? There’s even a country song called ‘Unanswered Prayers’ about it. We’ve all had those times where we look back on life and realize that God had a bigger and better plan, but that didn’t stop us from asking or praying for Him to make things happen.
There is another side to our prayers of this type that are often misunderstood. Sometimes when we want something so badly, we compromise our prayer life by coming to God with a subconscious agenda. We ask God if what we are doing is right and we look for things that confirm the answer we want instead of actually seeking His will.
It’s much like a behavior called Confirmation Bias. Confirmation Bias is when all you see confirms what you already believe. For example, lets say you have been fighting with your husband all week telling him all he does is watch football all day Sunday. Then after coming home from shopping all day (male confirmation bias in action) you walk up to the house and you smell the fresh cut lawn and see the hedges trimmed and the leaves are all bagged up and you walk in the front door and find your husband sitting on the couch sweating profusely and there on the television is the football game and you turn to him and say…”SEE!! All you do on Sunday is watch football!”
The same thing can happen in our prayers. We come to God and we ask Him if what we are doing is what He wants and we look for signs that confirm the answers we want; my favorite song plays on the radio, it begins to snow, or a bell rings when I asked God my question so I know this is what He wants me to do. Meanwhile we ignore the signs He may be sending us in other places, a phone call we ignored because we were busy focusing on what WE wanted, a meeting we blew off because we thought it took us away from OUR plan. All things that could have led to bigger and better things had we not been convinced that we were following the right plan.
When we come to God in prayer we can ask for His will to be done, but His answers are rarely a booming voice. God speaks to us more in whispers that require us to watch and listen carefully. More importantly when we come to God we need to understand that we can ask Him anything, but He may not answer the questions we ask. We need to come to Him and listen eagerly for what he has to say each and every time we come to Him. That’s also why it’s important to find your daily quiet time with Him, because if you are only meeting with God when you have an agenda, you may have a hard time hearing His answers.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Finally, when we do see God moving in our lives we need to be prepared to follow His leading. Even when He is leading us in a direction that does not follow our plan, we have to understand that God is God and we are not. His ways are above ours and He knows what is best for us.
Psalm 119:17-19 “Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.”
“God, I want what you want. If what I want isn’t what you want, then change my mind.” ~ Karen Wolff
Have you ever had a time when you felt convinced that God was telling you something only to realize He had other plans for you? Or does your wife shop too much?