Praying for the Right Reasons
Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 76; 1 Peter 1
Today’s Key Passage – Isaiah 37:14-20
Even before I was saved, I used to spend time praying before going to sleep at night, though I vary rarely prayed for the right reasons. For example, I would often pray that God would allow me to win the lottery. Moreover, I did not want to win the lottery so I could do anything good like helping the homeless or building a church. I wanted to win the lottery so I could buy a big house and a Ferrari. Of course, looking back on it now my prayers were nothing short of sinful, yet at the time I was always at least a little surprised and disappointed when my lottery numbers failed to win. See, I used to look at prayer the same way a small child looks at blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. I would simply make a wish and hope for the best. I never gave any thought to praying for the right reasons or praying according to God’s will, mostly because at that point in my life I had never actually read the Bible.
Hezekiah was a man who knew how to pray for the right reasons. As we saw in yesterday’s reading, the Assyrian king had Jerusalem besieged, and was threatening to attack. In the face of a seemingly hopeless situation, Hezekiah went to God in prayer. Fortunately for us, the text of his prayer is preserved in our key passage today (as well as in 2 Kings 19). Hezekiah began his prayer by praising and exalting God. (Vss. 15-16) He then asked God to deliver his people from the hands of the Assyrians, but perhaps not for the reason you might think. Hezekiah did not ask to be delivered to save himself from death or exile. He did not even ask to be delivered simply to save his people. Hezekiah asked God to be delivered, “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” (Vs. 20)
When we pray, we need to constantly seek to know God’s will and not our own. So how do we know if our prayers are in line with God’s will? One good way to test our prayers is by asking ourselves who would benefit if our prayers were granted. If our prayers only benefit ourselves, we are probably not praying according to God’s will. Even if our prayers benefit others, we still may not be praying according to His will. The true test is whether or not the answer to our prayers will advance God’s Kingdom. The more we learn about the Lord through his Word and the more we grow in Him, the better we will get at discerning His will. When we know and surrender to God’s perfect will, we will find that we are able to pray for the right reasons.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.