THINK BEFORE PRAYING

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It is the promise of our  Lord that  whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be  granted to us. Jesus has added that  if we are  not  getting our  petitions granted its reason is that  we are not asking   the right way.

Hannah ‘asked  Samuel of the  Lord’ (1 Sam 1:20). Samuel became a blessing not only to  Hannah and  Elkanah, but to the  whole of Israel. ‘Samuel was beloved by his Lord; a prophet of the Lord, he established  the kingdom and anointed rulers over his people. By the law of the Lord he  judged the  congregation……………Even after he had fallen asleep, the prophesied…..’ (Sir 46:13-20).  

But the Lord who heard the petitions of  Hannah for a child did not  respond when David prayed for the life of his child. Though he fasted, and went in and lay  all night on the ground, and pleaded with God for the child (2 Sam  12:16) he couldn’t save the  child.

Job  never prayed for  himself. He knew that praying for others is much pleasing to God and  he did it.  Long before Jesus advised us to strive first for the kingdom of God and  his righteousness  so that  other necessary  things will follow in our life (Mt 6:33) Job found its fulfillment in his life.

We should also remember Hezekiah, who pleaded with God for an extended term on  earth. ‘I shall not see the Lord in the land of the living; I shall look upon mortals no more among the inhabitants of the world. My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me like a  shepherd’s tent; like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day  to night you bring me  to an end’ (Isa. 38:11-12). These poignant words came from the heart of a righteous man (Sir 49:4) who humbled himself before God. As written, the prayers of the humble pierced the clouds (Sir 35:21) and the  life of Hezekiah was  extended for another fifteen years, as against God’s own warning  through prophet Isaiah that he would die soon.

It was Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son who succeeded him in the  throne. Manasse was  twelve years old when he inherited the kingdom. It means he was born during the  extended life of Hezekiah. The  things that Manasseh did were   just the opposite of what his father did.  He led the people to idolatry, sin, heinous practices, and abominable rituals. He was responsible for desecrating the  temple too (2 Kings 21:2-16, 2 Chr 33:2-7). Manasseh was the king who ruled the country for fifty five years, a record for all kings of the Israelites.

Manasseh’s sins were the major reason for the Israelites  going into Babylonian captivity. In spite of repeated warnings through prophets, neither the king nor the people  cared to mend their ways. The books of  Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel repeat the warning about the  dark days  in store for the  chosen people, who had by then  practically  abandoned the true God. And the reason? A son born to Hezekiah  during those fifteen years that he   pleaded and earned from  God!

We should be very very careful while asking  God something. When  God says;’ This is the way; walk in it’ (Isa 30:21) we should have a  heart ready to accept it. True wisdom is not asking anything beyond what God has prepared for us in his original plan. Not that  we will not  get our prayers granted, but  often it will be  harmful to us  in the  long run.

If we pester God with  prayers for wealth, He may grant it, but  that wealth could  be our undoing. If we pray for  leaving the  current place expecting better  fortunes, we may get  it, but  it could destroy our spiritual  life. Prayer for a good job, promotion, a good house etc may  be heard, but   often they  turn out to be  the  reason for our  ultimate fall.  Pray, and God may give  us  the  life partner of our choice rather than the one whom  God has made for us. Ultimately  our selection could be  our  failure. There is nothing wrong in praying for our children to reach the heights of  education, profession and wealth. But  they could also be the  source of our sorrow in our twilight years.

 Instead of  praying for the  things of  our liking, it is prudent to pray for the grace to ask the things that  God has in his plan for us.

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