I recently had the privilege of sharing a brief devotion with a bunch of teenage girls. Weeks in advance, when I asked the Lord what He might have me say, His answer was clear: “tell them they can pour it all out to me, they can always come to me.”
The Lord never gives you a lesson to share He isn’t also going to teach you through.
I kinda forgot that.
See, I talk to God all the time. But I don’t always talk to Him like He is who He says He is.
A few hours before I shared with the girls, He got my attention. Listening to those same girls, I began listening to the Lord about what I know goes on in their lives…and what I know will go on because they are humans living in the same fallen world I am.
They (and we) are going to face a lot of “what ifs” that plunder their prayers:
What if God never has me get married?
What if God never gives me or shows me my dream job?
What if God never makes me healthy again when I get sick?
What if God never heals the broken relationships I can’t fix myself?
What if I fail?
These are valid questions, and it’s alright to ask them. There is wisdom in preparing for many “what ifs.”
But the question of “what if” can also be a positive one.
What if God actually has plans for my life?
What if God is waiting to comfort me in my struggle?
What if God loves me more than the people in my life can and wants time with me too?
What if God is a confidant and an advisor?
What if God can lean in, listen, and embolden me like (or more than!) my best friends?
What if we believe, when we speak to God, He is listening as lovingly, patiently, kindly, perfectly, gently, and honestly as He says is in His Word?
In Ephesians 6, Paul encourages believers to put on the armor of God. Then He goes on to say “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
Prayer is included right there in the battle plan. But notice it fits in, bound to, other pieces of armor like salvation, righteousness, and faith. Notice how God speaks elsewhere about praying with a right heart, not for our own selfish ambitions (James 4:3.)
In other passages, God tells us we must ask and believe (Matt 21:22.)
What I’ve been convicted of is this: our prayers are plundered when we don’t believe or don’t recognize exactly who it is we’re talking to.
The best place for “what if” in prayer is “what if God is really listening, really cares, and has a perfect plan?” Because He is, and it changes things when we believe Him.
At very least, praying while believing God is who He is changes our perspective from desperately attempting to persuade God to resting in the blessed assurance of Christ.
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