Decades ago, I managed computer systems and network teams at the University of North Dakota’s Aerospace College. Many intelligent people worked with and for me. Me? Not so much. I needed supernatural help on occasion (usually late at night when I was in way over my head!). I’d share those Spirit-enabled success stories with my wife but never labeled the practice until one particular evening.
I had invited a network administrator and his girlfriend to join us for a church-sponsored Valentine’s dinner. During the meal, my wife said, “You know how you pray because you don’t know what you’re doing?” My cohort blurted out, “Ah – faith-based network administration!” I’ll take it. After all, why break what works? But is praying for what I need wrong or selfish? It depends.
God encourages us to pray in our time of need—in dire straights or innocent desire for good things, not selfish gain or ambition. Praying to find car keys to rush a sick child to the hospital would be good and selfless. Asking God for a red sport car when you only need to repair the car you have probably crosses a line. Let me offer some quick guidance about asking for Godly help before continuing.
Someone recently said something like, “If God can love people how I think He should, then I can love Him!” Well, we don’t set moral standards; God does. He doesn’t owe us anything, let alone His ear, and He certainly doesn’t work for us! If our motives are impure or selfish, or we intend to rebel against His standards, God will not listen to us (Psalm 66:18; 1Peter 3:7; James 4:3). And we must be someone God knows in a complete (perfect) relationship if we expect anything from Him. Here are a few verses encouraging those in fellowship with God to ask for direction.
Remember that Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from temptation and the evil one (Matthew 6:13). One Psalmist begs for God to order his steps and keep sin from overcoming him (Psalm 119:133). And Jesus’ brother James encourages us to ask God for wisdom and discernment (James 1:5). At the same time, Paul admonishes us to ‘pray about everything’ (Philippians 4:6). Do we have examples of this at work? Yep!
Paul got direction from God’s Spirit to go to Macedonia instead of Asia (Acts 16:6-10). Gideon, seeking guidance from God, asked for certain conditions (dry fleece, wet fleece) to confirm the future (Judges 6:36-40). The Jews similarly cast lots to receive guidance from God because they understood that He would direct the outcome according to His desires. Finally, King David continually sought wisdom from God. So should we.
In summary, God listens to His own and gives wisdom accordingly. What about the following article? Since we’ve touched on what God desires, let’s talk about how He seeks partners, not affirmation, zombies, or spiritual couch potatoes!
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley