“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
— Psalm 37:4
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
— Matt 21:22
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
— John 14:13
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
— Matthew 7:7
If you have ever prayed for the desires of your heart, you’ve likely hung on to these scriptures until you couldn’t hang on anymore. And if you’re like many Christians, perhaps you’ve come to a point where you’ve waited so long that you draw two conclusions:
I must be doing something wrong
God’s word can’t be trusted.
But today I want to propose to you a third possibility. I want to propose to you three questions that will help you understand why God may not be giving you the desires of your heart.
Question #1: What’s my motivation?
What is your motivation for your desire? Is it simply to bring you pleasure, or is it for the good of others and the glory of God?
You must be brutally honest with yourself. Oftentimes, we lie to ourselves enough that we believe it, but that doesn’t make it true. You can say, “I really want this high-paying job because then I’ll be able to tithe more,” but God knows your heart.
Proverbs 21:2 says that every man’s way is right in his own eyes. But the Lord weighs the heart.
God will often say no to what seems like a good thing in order to test your motives.
Question #2: What’s my maturity?
The mark of a mature Christian is patience. And I don’t just mean patience while waiting in line at the grocery store, I mean the kind of patience that waits on God no matter how long it takes.
Mature Christians can take ‘no’ and ‘not now’ for an answer. Children, on the other hand, want what they want and they want it now.
A mature Christian can embrace Psalm 84:11: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
They know that if God’s withholding it, it must not be good for them. At least not right now.
Question #3: What’s my mindset?
Growing up, I never understood what my father meant when he said, “You need an attitude adjustment.” It certainly never changed my attitude. All I could focus on was how I was being denied something that I felt I deserved.
In ministry and my counseling practice, I have heard many people over the years say, “If I don’t get this, I’ll be so upset.”
If we’re truly being honest, this is an attitude of entitlement. We think things like
“God, I’ve been serving you, I did everything right, you owe me.” Ok, maybe we don’t use those exact words but our attitude says it.
Here’s a test for your mindset: The next time God doesn’t give you what you want when you want it, watch for your reaction. Your reaction tells it all.
I often remind myself of the words spoken in one of my favorite songs, “Boasting” by Lecrae: “If we fought for our rights we’d be in hell tonight.”
My friend, God owes us nothing. If all He ever did for us was send Jesus to save our soul, that would be more than we deserve.
When I look back over the scriptures that we stand on when praying for the desires of our hearts, I’m reminded of the one thing they all have in common. And that is the alignment with God’s perfect will.
Prayer is not about getting God to give us the desires of our heart, but rather seeking to discover and align with God’s pre-ordained plan.
I pray you will join me in saying, “God if you don’t want me to have it, then I don’t want it.”
Want more? I wrote a book a while back called The Sacred Seven. In it, I talk about the 7 desires God has planted in the heart of every woman, and how to fulfill them. (Sorry guys, this one’s for the girls.)
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