5 THINGS WE SHOULD STOP PRAYING FOR
by Pastor Mark Agan
The Bible is filled with many examples of prayer. There are long prayers, short prayers, heart-felt prayers, and pride-filled prayers. There are prayers by shepherds, prayers by soldiers, prayers by inmates, and prayers by kings.
In Luke 18, we are given an example two very different men praying two very different prayers.
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.Luke 18:10-14
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Scripture teaches us to pray. But did you know there are some things we should NOT pray for? That’s right! Here are five prayers we should stop praying.
We should stop praying…
1. For Anything That Goes Against God’s Will.
It has been said that nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. God’s will is in God’s Word. Therefore, we should not pray for that which goes against the will and Word of God. 1John 5:14 clearly tells us that we can only have confidence that God hears our prayers when our prayers are “according to his will.”
It has been said that nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. God’s will is in God’s Word. Therefore, we should not pray for that which goes against the will and Word of God.Tweet
When Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, facing the most difficult part of His earthly ministry, His humanity may have wanted the Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him that He would have to endure, but He did not want anything that would go against the will of the Father. That is why He prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
In that moment, Jesus taught a valuable lesson about prayer. He taught us to pray, “THY will be done” not MY will be done. Why? Because God will never answer a prayer which goes against His will.
2. For Anything That Feeds Our Flesh.
Galatians 5:16 says we are to “Walk in the Spirit” and not “fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Therefore, God will not answer a prayer that feeds our flesh.
Galatians 5:16 says we are to “Walk in the Spirit” and not “fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Therefore, God will not answer a prayer that feeds our flesh.Tweet
Before you pray, ask yourself this question: “Will what I am asking God for help me walk in the Spirit or will it help me to continue walking in the flesh?” If the prayer you are praying will feed your flesh, I can promise you God will not answer that prayer. Or, if He DOES answer it, He will answer it with a “No!”
Why? Because our flesh goes contrary to His Spirit. Paul said in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” When we are guided by our flesh, it will prevent us from being led by the Holy Spirit.
The truth is, many times our prayers are flesh-driven because they are more about building our kingdom than about building God’s kingdom. Since it is God’s will that we not only be led by His Spirit, but also be filled with His Spirit, we should stop praying for anything that goes against the Spirit and feeds our flesh.
3. For Anything That Costs Us Nothing.
When David wanted to build an altar to the Lord in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, Araunah offered to let David use the land for free. But David wouldn’t hear of it. 2Sam. 24:24 says, “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” David knew that the life of a believer is a life of sacrifice.
In fact, Jesus never downplayed the cost of following Him. He reminded His disciples, in Matthew 16:24, that there is a cross to bear for anyone who follows Him. He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” In fact, He even went so far as to say, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38).
In fact, Jesus never downplayed the cost of following Him. He reminded His disciples, in Matthew 16:24, that there is a cross to bear for anyone who follows HimTweet
Wow! That is a pretty strong statement!
God expects us to do our part in the Christian life. In other words, He will not do for us what we could and should do for ourselves. For example, don’t ask God to heal your marriage if you are not willing to do your part to work on it, yourself. Don’t ask God to bless you financially if you are not willing to obey God with the money he has already given you.
God does not want to be treated like some cosmic genie in a bottle, waiting to grant our every wish. God is not interested in us living a life of ease, where there is no commitment or cost. There is a high cost to the Christian life. Therefore, we should stop praying for things that will cost us nothing.
4. For Things We Already Have.
What would you think if, when you gave your child an expensive gift you worked hard to provide for them, they complained that it wasn’t the newest model they really wanted? That would hurt your heart.
Well, how many times does God bless us with something and we quickly get dissatisfied with it and ask Him for another one even better? Instead of learning contentment, we are always wanting the newer, better version of what God has already given to us. We become discontent with the talents God has given to us, or we become discontent with the ministry God has blessed us with. 1Timothy 6:6 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
How many times does God bless us with something and we quickly get dissatisfied with it and ask Him for another one even better?Tweet
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” How could we ever lack anything we truly need, when the God of all creation promised to be with us always?
When we realize that what God has already given to us is enough to meet our needs, we will stop praying for more of the things we already have.
5. For Things Other People Have.
“I wish I had his job.” “I wish I had her good looks.” “I wish I lived in that house.” “I wish I had that pastor’s church.” All of these statements reveal a heart of covetousness, which the Bible condemns. As we just saw, covetousness reveals a heart of discontentment with what God has already given you. Remember, He said, “be content with such things as ye have.”
Covetousness reveals a heart of discontentment with what God has already given you.Tweet
We live in a social media world, where we see only what people want us to see of their lives. We forget that the pictures we see of them are perfectly posed and even Photoshopped to perfection. Social media is not always reality. Therefore, it is so easy to covet that seemingly “perfect” life we see of someone else, when the truth is…NO life is perfect.
I read a story where YouTube blogger, Natalia Taylor, posted a series of photos on her Instagram account showing herself enjoying a glamorous vacation in Bali. Her fans went crazy, seeing that she got to go to such an exotic place. Her first post with a “Bali” location was captioned “The queen has arrived,” and showed Taylor in what seemed to be a luxurious hotel. But there was only one problem. It was all fake! She never went to Bali. In fact, all of the pictures of her exotic “Bali vacation” were actually taken in different sections of a nearby Ikea! That’s right.
She took a professional photographer to Ikea and spent the day going from one place to another in the store posing as if she was living the high life, when she was faking it the entire time. To her credit, she revealed the truth to her followers with this lesson, “Don’t believe everything you see!”
The Great Lesson
That is a great lesson for us all to remember. No one has a perfect life. No one has a perfect marriage. No pastor has a perfect church. Therefore, we should stop praying for things other people have that God has not chosen to give to us.
May we stop praying these prayers and start praying prayers that honor and glorify God.
—PASTOR MARK AGAN
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