If you look at the Lord’s Prayer, you may notice that it is basically an outline of how we should approach talking to God. Before we get to “give us this day our daily bread” there’s the “Thy will be done” bit. That is important to understanding John 5:14.
Vending Machine: God isn’t one. You can’t stick your prayer in, wait a few minutes and have what you wanted appear. Jesus gave us our greatest example of that on the night He was betrayed. He asked that the cup…His death on the cross…be taken away. Then He said, “nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.”
No is an Answer: If you have children (or remember being a child) you may realize that parenting involves a great deal of usage for the word “no.” We don’t want our children to get hurt or to hurt others. It’s our duty to tell them no. It’s the same with God. Sometimes what we want is bad for us. Sometimes it will hurt someone else. When we ask God for something, we need to remember that “no” and “wait” are answers.
Changing how we Ask: It might be best if we went back to the Lord’s Prayer and looked at how it is worded. It acknowledges God as our heavenly Father, gives glory and praise, asks for His will to be done and includes our request. In that example our daily bread.
God isn’t a teddy bear. He isn’t a benevolent older man with a flowing beard. He isn’t angry as depicted often in the Old Testament. He is our supreme being, our Creator. We need to acknowledge those things in our hearts if not in our prayers. Otherwise we might ask amiss.
God’s Perfect Will: This is what we should all want. His perfect will for us is in our best interests in the long run. The best example of this I can give you was from something a pastor once said. I don’t remember the pastor’s name but the story will stay with me.
He was driving along, late for a meeting when one of his tires went flat. He wasn’t best pleased. He was near a somewhat treacherous intersection and as he was getting out to change the tire he heard the sounds of a violent car accident. That would have been him if he hadn’t had a flat tire he told us. It was God’s perfect will that saved him, even if it was by something he didn’t like.
Being a Christian is more than having someone to ask for things. Praying is more than our requests. We need to be in the right frame of mind and we need to listen for the answer He gives…even if it isn’t the answer we want.