“In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.” –Psalm 5:3.
This verse evokes a concept of childlike faith that seems so foreign to us realists. How can we give God our requests and wait in expectation? Doesn’t that just set us up for disappointment?
So often we think that way, but if we request of God something we believe is too big for Him and continue to worry, what is the purpose of prayer?
In Acts 12, while Peter is in prison and awaiting trial for his faith, his friends are gathered together praying for Him. God answers their prayers; He sends an angel to miraculously rescue Peter. The chains fall off his wrists, the iron gates are opened, the guards are struck dumb, and an angel leads Peter out. Once out of prison, Peter makes his way to where his prayer warriors are gathered in a house. When he knocks on the door, a servant girls opens it, only to close it promptly in his face, not daring to believe it could possibly be him. The others in the house show the same level of disbelief, telling the servant girl she is out of her mind, and explaining away this phenomenon by assuming that Peter has been martyred and his angel has come to visit them.
Think about it: they’re trying so hard not to believe their prayer has been answered, that they have to come up with an even more ridiculous theory to explain Peter’s appearance! Why? Were they so afraid of hoping, that they had to explain away God’s power when it was staring them in the face? Had they really spent all that time praying without believing?
Obviously, God can still move in response to faithless prayer, so be careful what you pray, or He just might come through when you least expect it…maybe even if you don’t want it.
But at the same time, how often do we lay our requests before God, only to pick them back up again and carry the weight of our concerns with us because it seems impossible that He would actually move on our behalf? What kind of prayer is that?
It’s fruitless prayer, that’s what. It’s faithless prayer. It’s “heaping up empty phrases” (Matthew 6:7).
If we pray without believing that God is big enough to respond, perhaps we need to reevaluate why we’re praying, or who we’re even praying to. If it’s the God who parted the Red Sea, who made fire fall from heaven, who made the deaf hear and the blind see and the lame walk, the God who created the universe and raised Jesus Christ from the dead, stop this half-hearted, weak-willed nonsense and believe that He can still move mountains.