Be careful what you repeatedly ask of God. You can’t always judge a prayer by its answer. While it’s true that many times in his kindness God withholds granting what we foolishly or selfishly request (James 4:3), there are plenty of biblical examples where God eventually grants the persistent yet imprudent prayers of his people.
Consider Israel’s repeated cry for a king. “We want to be like every other nation!” they relentlessly sniveled. So at last God said, “Fine, here you go” (see 1 Samuel 8). God answered their prayer with exactly the type of leader they requested, but it certainly wasn’t in their best interest.
We may think of God giving non-Christians over to their sin when they are obstinate in chasing what is wrong (Romans 1:24-28), but how often do we Christians doggedly pursue our own interests in our prayer lives without sincerely following Christ’s example of tempering every request with “… nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42)?
We need to learn to be flexible in our asking. We must be honest and humble about our limitations. We may not know what is actually best. We need to be less obstinate concerning our prayer requests and more trusting that God may have a different path or some creative means to accomplish his will in our lives.
So pray, and be specific, but always end your prayers with a malleable heart, which believes that God knows best how to lead and direct his children.
Taken from “Prayer Requests” by Focal Point Ministries (used by permission).