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Prayer and... Cookie Dough?
Certainly God is far more willing to answer our prayers than we are to ask them. His glory and the fulfillment of His will and eternal purpose in Christ are at stake in the faithful keeping of His promises regarding prayer than permeate the Bible. Thus, we may approach the throne of grace as we make our requests in the confidence that our Heavenly Father loves the fact that we have come - "the prayer of the upright is His delight" - and He loves to answer - "call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Proverbs 15:8; Jeremiah 33:8).
This being said, we also recognize that our practice and application of prayer are presently imperfect. We do not always ask in accordance with the will of God, and we may even at times ask for things that seem fine to our spotty understanding, but which are viewed by our Lord's perfect vision as gravely perilous.
When I was a child, my mother occasionally bought a tube of cookie dough, the kind you simply open, cut up, and bake. The product was new at the time, but it didn't take long for me to discover what is now a fairly open secret. Namely, the cookies are fine when cooked. But the raw dough is utterly sublime uncooked! I discovered this early on - I have a skilled nose for the culinary arts! - and subsequently began to raid the refrigerator whenever a tube of cookie dough was on hand. My mother didn't care for the practice, and thus didn't buy the product very often.
Now had it been up to me, and had I believed my mother to be willing, I'd have asked her to buy the cookie dough every time she went to the store. Hey, while you're at it, Mom, get two! Alas, my mother knew quite well that raw cookie dough, eaten in the mass quantities I'd have consumed, would not have been good for me. So even had I made the request, it would have doubtless gone unheeded by the mother who loved me.
It's a simple illustration, but you get the point. Far, far more than my mother, our Heavenly Father loves us too dearly to respond to requests based on our limited understanding and misdirected fleshly lusts. As much as He desires to answer our prayers, and as often as He does, His affection and devotion to us prevent fulfilling requests based on mere sentimentality. He is committed to our well being, both in time and eternity, and He "works all things together for good to them that love God," including and especially His answers to our prayers (Romans 8:28).
Thus we seek to pray in accordance with the will of God, and with the best understanding we can muster of His glory, along with the best interests of ourselves and those for whom we pray. We "come boldly to the throne of grace," but we also come humbly in the understanding of our limitations (Hebrews 4:16). Thank God that the One to whom we pray delights in our prayers, delights in answering our prayers, and delights in only responding in a manner that meets our truest and deepest need. We wouldn't want it any other way, so thank You Lord, and oh yes, thanks, Mom, for doing the same and taking care of me and my belly!
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you."