Hi. I’m Daniel Westfall, on the Channel “Pray with Me”.
If you are like me and have an ongoing problem trying to pray, perhaps you are also like me in thinking, “It would be helpful to have someone to blame.” And I want to suggest that we blame Jesus, because something he said creates a huge problem for people who try to pray.
So what problem did Jesus create? I think it’s that promise he made, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Six times in the gospels he said, “Whatever you ask.” Wow. Feels like winning a lottery. I can ask for beachfront property in southern California. I can ask for health and happiness. I can pray that God will destroy all my enemies. Why not? Didn’t Jesus say, “Whatever you ask”?
But of course, when we start praying, we discover quickly we don’t get whatever we ask. Doesn’t work. Not even when we request things we know the world needs, like when I pray that I will become patient and not so cynical.
So . . . are you interested in helping me solve the problem of prayer that Jesus created? Here are three suggestions.
The first solution, offered by many teachers, is a series of lectures on “How to pray the right way so God will give you what you really want.” These teachers suggest you need to pray more intensely. Pump up your faith with spiritual exercises because when you pray with enough muscle in your mindset, God is more likely to notice and respond.
If you feel this is what your prayer life needs, I suggest you Google the word “Pray” to find that kind of teaching. It’s widely available.
A second way to deal with the “Whatever you ask” problem is to focus on the conditions. Jesus said, “If you BELIEVE, you will receive whatever you ask,” and “Whatever you ask IN MY NAME.” Looks like it’s not Jesus who’s the problem, it’s YOU. If you’re not getting whatever you ask, it must be that you are not believing correctly, or that you are not asking properly IN HIS NAME.
If you feel this is what your prayer life needs, I suggest you Google ”How to pray with faith” or “How to pray in Jesus’ name” to find that kind of teaching. It too is widely available.
But if you’ve tried both those suggestions, and you are still stalled out and unmotivated in your prayer life — well, that leaves you with me still wondering how to solve the problem of prayer. In that case, here’s my most important prayer secret: It’s simple: I don’t have a solution to the problem of prayer. All I have is some hope that when Jesus said, “Whatever you ask”, he didn’t say it to mock me, but to share with me his kind and generous heart. “Whatever you ask” is an invitation that comes to us from the heart of God. And it is an invitation for us to begin a journey into the heart of God. The beginning point and the ending point for this journey truly is “Whatever you ask”. I’d like you to join me here Monday to Friday starting October 1 for some short talks, short prayers, and short book reviews. These talks, prayers and reviews will share my journey into the heart of God, and will invite you to come with me to that place. I call it the place of prayer.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with me”.