The Danger Of Presuming Prayer
Since the fallout from that first sin in the garden mankind has been in a continuing struggle to regain peace and security. It is our very nature. There are only two ways to bring about the peace and security we all desire, God’s way or my way. Most people who consider themselves Christian will readily admit that God’s way is always the best. We get into trouble however when our human nature causes us to presume what God’s way is.
We are living through a powerful example of this today. Our whole world is in an uproar. We are experiencing things no one would have imagined two years ago. The BIG question for believers comes down to where is God? What is His will? Could it be dangerous to pursue the answer to these questions through the lens of our human nature?
Here is an example; when we live in fear often our human response is a desperate search for peace and safety. When we pray for God to intervene out of our human nature we run the risk of entering into what I call presuming prayer. It is prayer that presumes God is going to respond in the way we desire…a comfortable way. But what if that is not God’s will?
I am sure you would agree that the best training on how to pray comes from our Lord Jesus. Most everyone can recite the Lord’s prayer and most of us have been exposed to some serious teachings that unpack it. But, perhaps we have missed what may be one of Jesus’ more powerful prayers given in the heat of His battle. A prayer that is perhaps very appropriate for the battles of our day.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42
Of course we know that Jesus, in order for Him to experience our plight, had to have a human nature. He had to be able to experience the temptations and challenges we face. I am sure He was anxious and even had some fear going on when He uttered this profound prayer. But notice what happened. Jesus was really saying, Lord not withstanding my pain I know my will (nature) is not important here…I want Your will. And we know the rest of the story—it was God’s will for him to go through this terrifying ordeal for the redemptive purpose of God.
As I listen carefully to a plethora of prayers, petitions and even prophecy in our Christian community today I am concerned that many of us are not putting ourselves where Jesus was. I have encountered so many believers who are dogmatic about what they know God is going to do. My friend there is only one person who knows what God’s will is and I am real sure I am not Him.
So please hear me on this, I am not saying it is wrong to want God to do something that we want. What I am saying is that when what we want turns into presuming that is what He is going to do—we can be misguided at best and miss what He is calling us to do at worst. The presumption that says, “nope—not going to happen—I’m believing,” and then adding what they are believing for, is not healthy. It does not matter what you believe—it only matters what God believes.
Jesus’ prayer acknowledged His nature but refused to give into it. That is what we are all called to do. We must guard against presumption at all costs and understand what our role is in the midst of our confusion and fear. If we allow ourselves to be misguided by our human nature we also run the risk of missing what God is calling us to do at this time—and that would be tragic.
Today the vast majority of Christians I encounter are convinced that God is not done with America. I hear everything from Trump is coming back, as though he is somehow our savior, to we are going to have a great awakening in our nation—another major revival that will sweep the globe. Boy does my human nature love that. But, what if that is not what God is doing at all? What if this is the beginning of the end? What if major tribulation is on the horizon? What if Jesus is coming back very soon?
At the end of the day we must test ourselves with these what if questions. We must end up in a place where it truly does not matter—only what God wants matters. If you find it hard to get there than perhaps this message is for you. Ask God to give you discernment in these days. Ask for protection from presuming to know His will. But most important, ask Him to show you your unique assignment for where we are right now.
I am concerned that if we presume to know what God is going to do we might be missing what He is calling us to do. I am convinced that He wants us to understand the urgency of our time and work hard to bring as many into the kingdom as possible. That is it—it is that plain and that simple—this mandate does not change.
Dear ones please remember that pride is often the root of presumption. It is ok to believe for God to respond—we must have the faith for that. I would just encourage all of us to hold our notions of what His response may be very loosely. I am persuaded that His purposes would be much better served if we ask Him to show us how we are to respond and then focus on that.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 15:14
Co-laboring together for the souls of men,