A seminary professor of mine liked to tell the story of a mother who prayed that her daughter would marry him. He was not the least bit interested in this sentiment. He would end the story with, “Aren’t you glad for unanswered prayer!” There was a time in Israel’s history when God gave the people what they wanted, not what they needed. The results were regrettable.
1 Samuel 8:19-20
But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
The nation of Israel wanted a king. They were tired of the old prophet, Samuel, riding around the country on a donkey. They desired to be like the surrounding nations. God told Samuel not to take this betrayal personally. God said, “[Israel has] rejected me from being king over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7) God allowed the people’s choice, a man named Saul who had an impressive appearance but a shriveled heart, to be anointed as their king.
Here we learn an important lesson: Sometimes God answers your prayers…and you live to regret it! Prayer is not to be used for making personal demands. It’s a humble conversation from a heart submitted to God.
- When your desire for something is strong, start by asking God to soften your heart and help you submit to his timing and will.
- Tell God that as strong as your desires are for a particular request, you want his answer, not yours.
Father, keep us in your Word walking close to you so that our desires match yours. Protect us from prayers we pray when we are disconnected from your best for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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