Q. I’ve prayed and prayed for God to do something for me, but to be honest I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing I ought to be asking for. Maybe I’m just being selfish. How can I know? Should I just stop praying for it? J.K.
A. God loves us, and he wants us to bring every burden and concern we have to him in prayer, even those that turn out later to be selfish or misguided. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Does this mean he’ll answer all our prayers, no matter what they are? No, of course not. God knows what is best for us, and he knows that many of the things we ask for would actually hurt us or even turn us away from him. If all we’re interested in is ourselves, and all we’re asking for is something that we selfishly desire, we shouldn’t be surprised if God says “no.” And we should be grateful he does, because he loves us enough to keep us from hurting ourselves.
Think of it this way: As a parent, do you give your children everything they ask for? Do you let them do anything they want to do? No, of course not, not if you love them. You know far better than they do what is dangerous or harmful, and sometimes you’ll say “no” because you love them. The same is true with God.
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Make it your goal to seek God’s will above all else, and if something is clearly outside his will, stop praying for it. Instead, commit your life to Jesus Christ, and then ask him to help you put him first in everything.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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