This guest post is by my dear sister in Christ, Nikka, from the Philippines. You can read her post in its entirety at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com
I think the problem lies not in the asking per se, but in what we are asking for, and in our attitudes and hearts, while asking for them.
The problem is we treat God as a Divine Slot Machine that dispenses coins in the form of “answered prayers”. We ask Him for something and we expect an answer pronto! When He does not give us what we want, when we want it, and how we want it, we conclude “praying” is a waste of our time. The “Machine” does not “work”! He just wouldn’t listen!
I used to throw a spiritual fit, back in the day when I did not really know Who God was and who I was in relation to Him.
Here is an excerpt from my diary dated March, 2003:
“I am not happy. I think I am actually depressed in the truest sense of the word. Will I ever snap out of it or will I forcefully do the snapping out? These months have held nothing but trials. I even feel alienated from going to mass nowadays. Stopped the daily masses or even the novenas. I still pray, yes, but it seems to me that God’s Will will prevail come what may and no amount of praying can change that. I also stopped going to mass because maybe, just maybe,
I am “bribing” God to do things I want Him to do by being overtly religious. I am trying not to overdo it but still have faith in Him. I know I can’t count on anyone but God and His Mercy nowadays.When one’s life is this messed up, only God Who created life can fix it…
I am so scared of rejection that I cannot pray to God for my particular intention lest He not listen to me and I just crumble even more. In my heart, God knows what I want and I don’t want to force Him to give it to me, so I don’t pray altogether. I’m scared that God will reject me.”
See how totally off and devoid of wisdom my idea of God was at that time?
- I “prayed” a lot because I wanted to “bribe” God into giving me what I wanted.
- I stopped “praying” because I knew God would not give me what I wanted anyway!
In even simpler terms, I “prayed” because I wanted God to conform to MY will, and when He didn’t do what I wanted Him to do, I threw a spiritual fit by not “praying.” Yikes! 🙁
That was not praying! That was bossing around the Big Boss. That was pure and plain as day, bullying! How dare the clay act so disrespectfully towards its Potter!!!
In my defense, I really didn’t know how to conduct myself towards God. I honestly thought, that was what one meant by “praying unceasingly.” I thought it was enough to just tell God what I wanted again and again and again, and He would get my drift. You know what I mean? Isn’t that what “praying without ceasing” meant? To be sooooooo persistent that even God would have no recourse but to give in to me?!
8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
* * *
When I was at my most controlling phase in our marriage, my “prayers” consisted of asking God to:
– change Dong’s ‘erroneous’ work attitudes
– change Dong to make him more motivated
– change Dong’s lack of direction and to show him his life path
– change Dong’s idea of providing and give him a good job
– change Dong’s bad habits
– let Dong realize how lucky he was that he was married to me!
– etc. etc.
I was greatly disappointed in God at that time because He was not “answering” my unceasing “prayers”!!!! Dong was not “changing”!!!
Little did I know (I was so prideful and spiritually blind then) that I was not really “praying” but just blabbing and yakking and pestering God all those times! All my “prayers” were just long sermons and complaints to God about Dong. Just because I could point out ALL his sins did not make ME a saint! God must have put on earphones when I would start “praying”. I could really be quite talkative. I could “pray” for hours!!!
**** (Nikka describes 5 reasons God did not answer her prayers earlier in the marriage in her full post) ****
In September 1, 2013, I decided that I would submit fully to God,
and then submit to my husband, Dong.
I repented to God and I asked for forgiveness too from Dong for my years of disrespect and prideful behavior.
We decided to take baby steps in fixing our marriage, including our God-ordained roles in the family. We are still taking it a day at a time now, but things are becoming easier as the days pass by. Our “new normal” is getting to feel normal.
Around the time I submitted to Dong, the Lord had provided for us materially, enough for me to not have to work. I was also at a period in my life when I felt that I was “done” with my broadcasting career and wanted to just focus on our home. I figured, the Lord had been so gracious and generous with me for more than a decade, and I have done everything I wanted to do as far as my career was concerned. It was time to stop pursuing my worldly ambitions, and time to start supporting my husband’s simple dreams. (Not to say that I will turn down all opportunities if and when they do arise. I will still consider them prayerfully, but with my godly priorities in mind.)
One of us had to stop. It had to be me.
The Lord could not move in our lives while I was busy chasing after my selfish pursuits.
I was too dominant and my husband was too passive.
In love, for it to be real, there must be sacrifice. The Lord had to suffer in order to save us.
He had to die in order to give us Life.
Contrary to what the world says,
one “cannot have it all.”
And after years of living for myself and for my dreams, the Lord instilled in my heart a desire so strong, I just had to follow it.
For the first time in my life…
I wanted to keep still.
Today, I can joyfully say, that the Lord has been blessing us in all aspects and areas of our lives! There is great joy and peace and love now, that was absent or lacking before, when I was still too busy pursuing my career, my desires to be esteemed and to make a name for myself, all the while, searching for hallow meaning.
- When I gave up my life to God, I was given a new one.
- When I died to myself, I found my most authentic self.
- When I got to know Him through His Word, I realized who I was in relation to Him: That I was NOTHING and yet He loves me.
I did not need to add onto myself any title or accolade.
I mattered simply because I was His child.
Jesus is ALL that mattered.
With Christ, I have EVERYTHING.
Jesus Christ died for ME.
And He died for you too.
Are you ready to hand over the reins and let Him rule in your life?
- I am now free from all my bondages! 🙂
- I am now enjoying a godly marriage with my loving husband! 🙂
- I am finding purpose in my roles as wife and mother, sister, friend, daughter and neighbor…! 🙂
- I have Christ’s peace, joy, love, strength, and hope… daily! 🙂
I still have problems. Dong and I still have problems. Who doesn’t? But they are “exciting” to have because we know that God will manifest Himself in them. He will glorify Himself through them.
Because you see, we serve a BIG GOD.
No matter how big the problem is, our GOD is BIGGER.
God never guaranteed a problem-free life, but with Him in control, every “yoke is easy and every burden, light.” (Matthew 11:30)
I cannot thank God enough for calling me by name, for opening up my spiritual eyes, for freeing me from all my bondages, and for giving me a new life.