Society emphasizes the importance of image. Social media gives us the ability to selectively present ourselves at our most positive and accomplished. We post statuses that include promotions, fun gatherings, delicious meals, and exciting trips. We rarely post moments of self-doubt, adversity, or disappointment. Abraham Lincoln stated “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” We cannot fool the Lord at all.
When we go before the Lord – the strong and successful image that we like to portray for others is meaningless. The Lord created us and knows us intimately. In fact, Luke 12:7 begins “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered…” The truth is that nothing is hidden from the Lord. He knows our desires, triumphs, vulnerabilities and temptations. He knows our heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 ends “…for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God not only knows us, He knows our motives. We must go before Him with absolute humility. We must be honest about the issues of our heart. God is a big guy! He can handle the honest, brutal truth as we know it. He can help us in those areas where we struggle. He can heal us from regret, shame, disappointment, and every imaginable kind of misstep.
Sometimes we become discouraged when God doesn’t respond to a prayer request as or when we expect. We don’t realize that we can come into conflict with God when we place our will above God’s will. We become a victim of our own pride. James 4:3 says “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.” The key is to seek God’s will for our lives.
We must approach God with humility – recognizing Him as our sovereign Creator and acknowledging our need for His intervention in our lives. John 15:5 explains our dependency on God where Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Whether we recognize it or not, we are constantly operating in God’s grace.
Acknowledging our dependency on God breaks the yoke of a prideful spirit. This humbling is liberating, freeing us up to focus on God’s will for our lives. We shift from praying our will to praying God’s will. We merely present our needs to God, trusting in Jeremiah 29:11 which states “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When we are aligned in intimate relationship with God, we desire the very things He has already prepared for us. His responses delight us because it is what we genuinely want. He’s delighted to grant us those desires because we invite Him to deliver a blessing that already has our name on it – custom made and prepared just for us! God’s blessings typically exceed whatever immediate relief we’re seeking anyway. We serve a “greater than” God who operates with a far broader vision than we ever could. We need only trust in His will. Praying with humility and aligning with God’s will allows us to pray with joyous expectation, living Matthew 7:7 which says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”