Without meaning to, we can hinder our relationship with our Creator by praying outside of His will. Instead of inviting God to answer questions, address dilemmas, and provide as He sees fit, we “help” God by formulating our own solution. I call this phenomenon, The Prediction Trap.
The Prediction Trap is dangerous because it shifts our mindset from trusting God by default, to trusting God as a back-up after our own plans fail. The fault is in seeking our own will above God’s. In our limited view, we believe that we know what is best and begin steering our prayers in that direction. We pray for specific outcomes, assuming that we know what the best possible outcome is. Our prayers devolve into selfish, short-sighted, and pride-laced instructions where we attempt to steer God toward aligning with our will instead of the other way around. We make plans, then ask God to validate and bless them instead of seeking His will for the very lives that He gave to us. This futile approach can leave us feeling frustrated and defeated. Even worse, it leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness where we personify God and assume He mirrors our humanistic unforgiving behavior. We become spiritually humiliated and reluctant to reconnect with God.
The good news is that you can avoid or escape this perilous trap! Not only does God know all (omniscient), but He is everywhere (omnipresent) and He is all-powerful (omnipotent). When we release our concerns to His expanded vision, wise direction, and perfect timing, God moves mightily! Furthermore, He provides a response that is intricately designed to simultaneously glorify Him and bless us. Here are a few considerations for breaking out of The Prediction Trap:
- Acknowledge that God is the Ultimate Predictor: God’s supernatural wisdom begins where our human intelligence ends. Our Heavenly Father rationalizes and comprehends at an intellectual level that we cannot fully fathom.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says that “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Trust in God’s Timing: We operate on God’s timeline, not the other way around. Humans are conditioned to think in terms of defined time (chronos). God operates based on the most opportune moment (kairos). We must operate in faith, trusting that God constantly at work, orchestrating every detail of our lives in a way that best meets our needs, even those that we do not acknowledge nor recognize.
James 5:7-8 reminds us to “ Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”
- Stand on God’s Promises: Study God’s word to learn about your rights and privileges as a Child of The King. We do not have to operate under a heavy weight of guilt, shame, or regret. 1 John 1:9 clearly states that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Furthermore, God is not like man. He is not temperamental. He never goes back on his word. Number 23:19 describes God’s very character by saying “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
- Seek God’s Will: Start by committing yourself to the general aspects of God’s will for all Believers. The more that your relationship with God flourishes, the more insight He provides about His will for your life. Your heart can become so closely connected that His will IS your will – you begin to desire what God already has planned for you. Ephesians 5:15-17 admonishes us to “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
The Lord is faithful, forgiving, loving, gracious, and merciful. He eagerly awaits our heartfelt petitions to save, bless, encourage, deliver, heal, protect, provide, and restore. He meets us at our point of need and vows to never leave nor forsake us. He grants us wisdom whenever we ask. You do NOT have to fall into a trap. God has the resources of the universe at His disposal to address the very same situation that you tried to resolve in your finite human power.