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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Telling God What to Do

Photo by: David Castillo Dominici

I’ve done it, and if you’re a praying person, you probably have, too. I’ve told God what to do.

You see, I believe in the power of prayer. I mean, I believe that God can do anything. 
  • God is omnipotent (all powerful). I am the Almighty God (from Genesis 17:1). I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee (Job 42:2).
  • God has no limitations. And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27)
  • God spoke the world into being. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:3).
  • Everything belongs to God. The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1, a Psalm of David).

So, I pray in faith, and I expect God to answer. Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).

Sometimes, I pray for others, like this: “God, please heal Mrs. Z.* I know You can make her well.” And, then, I tell God all about her. “You know, Dear Lord, Mrs. Z has a large family, and they depend on her.” Then, I tell God how much we need Mrs. Z. “We would all miss her, were she to pass away.” I end my prayer with an impassioned repetition, “Please, God, heal Mrs. Z.”

Now, there’s not much wrong with my prayer for Mrs. Z. It’s prayed sincerely, out of true concern, and in faith. But I forgot something.

And, I was telling God what to do: heal Mrs. Z.

Sometimes I pray telling God how to answer my prayer. “Lord, please cause the company to accept Suzie’s paperwork.” Or “Dear God, help Junior do well on his exam.” “Lord, keep the Jones family safe on their long trip this weekend.” But these prayers as well forgot something.

And, I was telling God how to do His work: have the company do this, help Junior ace his exam, and protect the Jones family.

God might choose to answer just as I asked. But He might not.

What was wrong with my prayers? What did I forget?

I forgot to ask that God’s will be done.

How can we tell if a matter is God’s will or not? 
  1. What does the Bible say? If the Word of God clearly states God’s will about it, you can confidently pray.
  2. Pray before praying. You can ask God to reveal His will to you. Then, when you know what God wants, you can pray for that outcome. (You might want to read the fascinating book about a lady who always prayed this way. My review of The Prayer That Makes a Difference is here.) 
  3. When you don’t know what God wills, pray “if it's Your will.” We simply do not know how God will be glorified. Is it best in God’s eyes for Mrs. Z to get well, or is it better for her to never have pain again and be with Him in heaven? God knows if her nephew will have a softened heart towards Him, should she pass away. God knows, and we don’t. In the cases of Suzie’s paperwork, Junior’s exam, and the Jones family’s safety, we don’t have any Bible revelation of God’s will on those matters. Maybe it’s not God’s will for Suzie to work at that company. Maybe Junior can learn a lesson if he gets a D on his exam, since he neglected to put much time into studying. Maybe God would be glorified with the death of one of the Joneses, or He will give them an opportunity to be a witness, were they hospitalized or involved in a fender bender.

God absolutely knows what is best.

Our lives touch other people, and God can use us in many different ways.

He is also in the business of sanctifying us—making us more and more like Christ—working in us to help us grow.

No one would be so cocky as to think he could tell God what to do. God is, after all, perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful, present everywhere. No way could we tell Him what to do and how to do it.

So, the next time we pray, it would be wise to acknowledge His sovereignty (that He is totally in charge) and ask Him to do His will . . . in His way.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that,
if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us,
whatsoever we ask,
we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
(1 John 5:14-15)

* All illustrations are completely fictitious.


  1. I'm sometimes guilty of suggesting to God how to work out a situation, then have to remind myself that He knows what's best and all I need to pray is for His will to be done.

    1. Oh yes, we ALL do this, and we ALL need to remember that He knows best. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing. God bless you!

  2. Exactly!! My thoughts have been on this subject of prayer, too. We do often pray AT God instead of praying To God. If we're not attentive to how we pray our prayers may become an attempt to manipulate God instead of an act of submission to God. ~ Thanks for posting.

    By the way... I couldn't access your review of the book you mentioned in this post.

    1. Thank you, Jane. I will try to repair that link. Thanks for letting me know. God bless you!


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