Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.. (Philippians 4:5-7)
Prayer takes many forms. The prayer of petition is perhaps the most common. We go to God so that we might ask something of Him. It is not wrong to do so. In fact, the Apostle Paul writes that we should. When we do we will experience positive results, even beyond any specific answer to our prayer. We will be freed from anxiety and peace will reign in our hearts and minds. Our Lord Jesus echoes this promise:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
One might say that is all well and good but my specific prayer has not been answered. What good is petition when it is not working for me? I prayed with faith. I prayed believing that I would receive:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
Faith is key. However, although the love of God is unconditional, His promises are not. Let us extend the Mark reading:
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
Do we harbor forgiveness in our hearts? What if we are asking for the wrong thing?
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
Petition does work, but is not a “name it and claim it” method to manipulate God. We hear: “I am believing God for a new car.” Does that mean that God has to believe what we believe? Would it not be better to learn what God believes and pray that His will be done?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Lastly, do we pray with an attitude of gratitude?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)
God is our provider. He knows what we need even when we think that we do and do not.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)