The Lord gives us the awesome privilege asking Him what we need or desire in His name and, He will answer according to His will.
Sometimes He says YES, and sometimes He says NO.
John 14:13-14 (NKJV)
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it.
Even though He said, “Whatever you ask”…there are SOME things that we should NEVER expect God to do. Sometimes we unintentionally ask God to contradict His holy word and His will.
That’s why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1-13).
This is far from exhaustive, but here are 3 things that we should NEVER expect God to do…
1. FOR GOD TO MAKE YOU STOP DOING WRONG…
I talk about this often. How many times have you heard someone caught up in sin…caught up in a weakness, say…
“Lord, please make me stop doing this!”
“Lord, please remove this temptation!”
God never promised to MAKE us stop sinning. He never promised to REMOVE temptations out of our way. Can He do it? Yes, of course, but Jesus died on the cross to GIVE US the power over sin and death. He expects us to make a choice to choose Him over sin. He tells us to put to death (Colossians 3:5)…put off (Colossians 3:8)…put away (Ephesians 4:25, 31)…cleanse ourselves (2 Corinthians 2:7)… lay aside (Hebrews 12:1) those behaviors and sins that displease God. He told us to, STOP ON YOUR OWN!
And, think about it. No one wants to have to force someone they love to choose them over a rival. No one wants to have to force their spouse to be faithful. We want it to be a choice…a personal choice out of love and respect.
When we ask God to make us stop doing wrong, we are saying that we can’t help ourselves.
When we ask God to remove a temptation…there is no commitment, faithfulness or strength in that…it’s taking the easy way out. The desire is still there, the temptation has only been that’s been removed.
There’s no growth or maturity in that!
God wants us to love Him enough to overcome the desire.
We should never ask God to do what He expects us to do what He has empowered us to do for ourselves.
If God has to FORCE you stop sinning…you may not like the way that He does it.
2. FOR GOD TO GIVE YOUR ENEMIES WHAT YOU FEEL THEY DESERVE…
We all have people in our lives who don’t like us, hate us, and sometimes work or even plot against us.
It could be someone who hurt you personally, or it could be someone who hates you because of your family, race, socio-economic status, faith…
It could be someone who abused you, murdered one of your loved ones…who attempted to kill you.
They may have betrayed your love by cheating on you with your best friend…They may have cheated you out of your life savings…
They may owe you money and act as though they never borrowed it…
There are innumerable ways that we hurt one another, and God knew this when He commanded us to love our enemies.
Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
So, we must be very careful to NEVER pray that God gives our enemies what WE feel they deserve. They are God’s child just as you are. He doesn’t love them any less than He loves you. When we hurt one another, we are hurting God. He wants them to submit to His will and commandment to love just as He does you.
Plus, we must admit to ourselves that we have all hurt, betrayed and let down one another. We all have people in our lives that we have given a good reason to ‘not like’ us (DON’T BE TOO HARD ON SOME OF YOUR ‘HATERS’…). This is the main reason why we should NEVER pray for God to give our enemies what we feel they deserve…because we are actually placing that same judgement on ourselves.
When we decide someone doesn’t deserve God’s mercy..
When we decide someone is worthy of punishment…That’s condemnation and judgment.
Remember what the Lord said…
Matthew 7:1 (NKJV)
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
God told us to bear with one another…to have mercy on one another…to forgive one another and to have an attitude of forgiveness, just as He forgives us…
Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Be careful when you wish ill will on your enemies, and NEVER pray for it.
3. FOR GOD TO HELP PEOPLE YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO HELP YOURSELF…
How many times have you seen someone in need and prayed, “Lord, please help them”…and then went on about your business, while you had the means to help them?
Have you ever prayed or heard someone ask God bless the people in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons?
Have you ever told someone, ‘Just let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you, or if you need anything”, when you could clearly see they needed help?
Too many times we will pray for God to help people when we have the means to help them. Sometimes God put them in your path so you can be the answer to their prayer.
God expects us to give food, clothing and shelter to those in need. In fact, when we do so, He says we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25:31-45).
Look at what the book of James says about helping others when addressing faith without works…
James 2:14-17 (NKJV)
4 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
There’s nothing I can say to make it anymore clear than that. Now, look at what 1 John says…
1 John 3:17(NKJV)
17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
We should NEVER pray expect God to miraculously help someone when we have the means to help them ourselves.
Yes, it’s good to pray, but we must always make sure that we are praying or, and not praying for the right things.