You've heard the story, I'm sure, about Bugsy hesitating as his accomplices jumped out of their car to rush in and rob the First National Bank. "Mugsy, Thugsy, wait!" shouted Bugsy. "We forgot to pray for God's blessing on this caper!"
Well, maybe you didn't hear about this (hope not!). Bank robbers rarely seek Divine aid when plying their nefarious trade. Even if they believe in God, they realize He would not involve Himself in anything so obviously contrary to His will. They're right about this, and I suggest the silly scenario above to serve as an extreme example that illustrates the truth that prayer, while involving our requests, actually serves to fulfill the will of God.
"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14-15).
True prayer requires devotion to the glory, will, and eternal purpose of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. "Thy will be done" comprises the holy atmosphere and attitude of genuine communion with our Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:10). As a good friend often suggests, "The Lord is not our concierge waiting to serve us at our beck and call." Believers are rather His servant sons and daughters who seek His guidance in all things, including our prayers. This does not preclude our own desires, even as the Apostle Paul taught the Philippians: "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). We recognize, however, that not all our desires coincide with the will of God. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit… Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your own lusts" (James 4:3). Thus, we must fill our hearts and minds with the Scriptures if we are to avail much in our praying, seeking to know the will of God as based on the Word of God.
The Bugsys, Mugsys, and Thugsys of the world don't do much praying. They know better. We must know better also, seeking to avoid asking for God's blessings without first considering who and what His character and purposes will allow Him to bless. Prayer thus requires the seriousness that leads us to consider our requests in the light of our Lord's revealed truth and will. Just as we don't expect Him to bless bank robberies, we shouldn't expect Him to bless that which fails to accord with His glory, will, and eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus.
"He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth."
Weekly Memory Verse
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.