EVERYONE knows the famous “ask and you shall receive” verse. Eeeeverryyyyone and their grandmother. I’m one of those people who falters between not asking because how-can-you-make-something-like-that-happen and ask-anyway-because-theres-the-likelihood-you-wont-get-it-mpo.
Typically, I end up at ask-anyway. Because I’m all for shoot-your-shot and see where it lands.
My favourite (I know, I know, you’re not really supposed to have favourites, but stay with me) verse regarding prayer and whether or not it gets answered is when God asks Moses, “is my hand waxed short?” Every time I think about asking for something and I think it might be too big an ask, I try to remind myself of that.
“How can it be too big, do you know who you’re asking? My friend, ask worhor. “ – is the running monologue I have with myself.
I haven’t yet hit a snag. I don’t think I ever will, to be honest. Sometimes the things don’t happen when I want, or as quickly as I want. Yet, when I ask, truly believing that I’m going to get what I ask for, I have, not once, gotten less than I asked.
That being said, I’m slowly realising how increasingly important it is to be careful what I pray for. Mainly because of my not hitting a snag. I think about how I want so-and-so and I want it this-way and that-way, sometimes I forget to ask for the wisdom to make those things work well together. In haste or desperation, or rather in absent-mindedness, I just pray for what I want, and not how to deal with it once I get it.
“Fill my plate, Lord. I want to do more.” And now, I’m here thinking maybe I should have specified how I want my plate filled. You know? Considering I was dealing with the person who is known for doing double-double.
“I know…I know I originally prayed for a full plate. But, this is a bowl’s worth of things. You know? Serving bowl. I can’t juggle. I wanted it mome, but it’s… there’s… so much! So much!”
There’s a way around this. I’m learning that the hard way, but I’m learning regardless. Specificity. I know, we aren’t supposed to put God in a box and expect him to perform like some circus animal. But that specificity is a life saver, quite literally.
I heard a bishop tell a story once, about his praying for a car when he was younger and needed one, but didn’t have the finances to get one. He had prayed for a blue, small car. And much to his surprise, a few weeks later, someone offered to give him a blue, small car. The tagline? He wishes he would have prayed for a lamborghini or something. If he knew his prayer was going to be answered din k3 kpoo like that, he would have specified exactly what he wanted.
- Because dealing with God means you can have that, and
- Because if you can have exactly what you want, why would you only pray for half of it?
It’s more beneficial, for me anyway, to be specific about my prayer. When I want to pray for money, I can pray for that, but I also have to pray for how to handle or deal with that money. Or I want a business of my own, but I need to know how to manage one. Do I want a husband, but I’m not yet ready to be a wife?
Sometimes, the general prayer almost kind of seems like you’ve been cutoff mid-speech. The specificity finishes the sentence, so to speak. Akin to having a cupcake, without the icing. Then you’re just having a muffin. It’s good, but it’s not great and mind-blowing.
There’s a deterrent from being specific. The thought that things have happened “coincidentally”. Sometimes I may pray for something and I’m specific and I’m almost swayed by the timing of it. I begin to wonder if that was really God, or if said thing was going to happen anyway and the timing of my prayer was just right.
When I have those moments, there is always that small part of me that knows even coincidences cannot be thatttt coincidental. I mean. Come on. There has to be some limit to it.
It isn’t always easy, to be honest. Especially when sometimes you pray and you don’t get it the exact way you expected. Or when you expected to. That shouldn’t deter you from specificity, though. A one-off experience shouldn’t change your entire prayer M.O.
If what you’re looking for is a glass house, on a hill, with a view of the city down below, and a baobab tree in the left corner of the compound, then pray for just that. If you want it by a certain date, add that too.
Don’t be swayed by the easiness of a more general prayer.
You may not get it on the date you expect to, but chances are, you’ll most likely get everything else. And if I were given a choice, I would choose that over just getting “a house”.
When you pray for that house, please, by all means, pray for the ability to care for it as well. ‘Cause it’s so important to be careful what we pray for. Pray the whole picture, and not just one piece of the puzzle.
“When I pray coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” – William Temple
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