Whenever you are making a significant prayer to God, you must first consider these key ideas:
Are you ready for what you're praying for?
Many times, there are reasons that God has not answered the prayers of His people. Most of the time, it is because of His timing. Time and time again, God mentions that His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. There are certain things that we need that we don't have, for various reasons:
- Lack of discipline
- Lack of wisdom
- Lack of self-control
God is not Burger King; you can't have it your way
People think that God will just wiggle his nose, snap His fingers and things will happen for us at our request. It’s important to remember that even though God works miracles, he also knows that there is more involved in answering our prayers then just receiving it how we like.
Are you working while you wait?
To reiterate and add to the previous idea, it’s very simple: faith without works is dead. Before you assume that God is ignoring you, ask yourself these simple questions:
- What are you doing to work towards that prayer?
- What hasn't the prayer been answered yet?
Ultimately, what people seem to overlook is the WAY that they pray. God has given us tools in order to pray in accordance with what His will is for us. Here are two examples of how someone should pray versus how they should not, in this particular instance of course. The first example shows how people are usually praying with a mindset of speed, rather than a mindset of process and progress.
Example: Lord, make me rich; allow me to make more money so that we can buy all of the things that we need and want in life.
This prayer is often made when people are looking for microwaved blessings. They expect quick results, even if they are not putting in work to make sure that these prayers are manifested in their lives. It is important to make sure that as you're praying to God, you understand that He answers prayers in His own timing, even though it may seem that He is supposed to be on your time. Make sure you keep in mind that God does everything for a reason, and maybe the reason He has not given you what you ask for is because you ask for it with ill-will or ill intentions (James 4:3).
The next example provides a framework for the person to not only understand what God wants from them, but to also make themselves available so that they can learn something during the process of their prayer being answered.
Example: Teach me how to be more financially intelligent; allow me to discipline myself in taking care of finances. Please show me what I'm lacking in wisdom when it comes to stewardship and husbandry of what you bless me with. Give me discipline to tithe more.
God wants to give us great, amazing things. However, it has to become common knowledge that if He gives us all of these things and we've learned nothing at all prior to receiving these things, or from the experiences that we go through when we get them, then God would definitely be doing us a disservice. This form of prayer not only allows the person to learn who God is and what He's capable of in their life, but they are also able to see what kind of person they themselves can transform into when they let the Lord dictate and order their steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).