Are You Insulting God?

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”    Matthew 28:20

It happened again. The man opening the worship service in prayer said very sincerely, “Lord, please be with us today … ” I cringed a little.

Okay, so what’s wrong with this prayer? A lot of people pray, “Lord, be with us today as we meet …” But is that necessary?

Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) This was a promise. And Jesus keeps his promises.

I wonder how that man would feel if he were leaving for the day and his wife said to him, “Good-bye, honey. Please be faithful to me today.”

I imagine he’d stop in his tracks and say something like, “What?! Honey, I promised you the day we were married that I’d always be faithful to you, til death do us part. I’ve kept that promise up until now, and I have no intention of breaking it, today or any other day!” I’m also guessing he’d be a little hurt by the request.

On the other hand, if she were to look into his eyes and say, “Honey, you have always been faithful to me, and I want you to know I don’t take that for granted. I’m so thankful you’re my husband!” – followed by a hug – he would probably leave the house smiling.

Have you ever been to the funeral of a godly saint and heard the pastor or priest petition God to receive this person’s soul into heaven and grant him or her eternal life?

Hello?!

How many times in our prayers do we, out of ignorance or habit, ask God for things He has already promised or has already done? How many of our petitions would be more appropriately offered as prayers of thanks? A better Sunday morning opening prayer might be, “Lord, thank You so much for Your presence today. We welcome you with open hearts!”

The funeral prayer could be, “Lord, thank You for Your promise of eternal life for those who trust in You. As we say goodbye to ________ today, we thank You that (s)he will never again have sickness, grief, or any other kind of pain. We look forward to seeing him/her again in glory when we all go to be with You.” What a comforting thought!

The more I study God’s Word and experience the answers to my prayers, the less time I spend asking Him for things. This hasn’t shortened my prayer time any, though. I want to honor the Lord with faith as I thank Him for things I can’t yet see, even things He hasn’t yet done but has promised to do. When times are hard, I can thank Him that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When hurting physically, instead of begging him to heal me, I can put it in His hands and say, “I know that You have the power to heal me, and I hope You will. But if not, I trust that You are working out an even better plan. Thank You for Your promise that someday I will have a brand new body, resurrected and glorified.” (I Corinthians 15: 35-57)

When I don’t feel His presence, I can thank Him that I know He’s there anyway, since He promised never to leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Sometimes after praying in this way – preferably out loud – I do start to feel His presence. But if not, I can still take Him at His word, whether I feel it or not. Truth is truth.

When I feel harassed by the enemy of my soul, I can thank the Lord that “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4) and that someday “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” [italics mine] (Philippians 2: 10-11) By the way, I’m pretty sure the devil hates that one!

When I’m listening to the news and it seems the world is plunging toward destruction, I can thank Jesus for telling us in advance that we would have trouble in the world, but that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

It’s not that God needs me to remind Him what He’s promised. But it does me good to remind myself of how secure I am in His love. Whenever I remember to do this, a lot more of my prayer time is joy-filled, confident, and victorious.

Of course, thanking Him for what we have been promised involves knowing what we’ve been promised, and that’s another great reason to read His Word, study it, hide it in our hearts, meditate on it in times of discouragement, and thank Him for it at every opportunity.

After all the LORD has done for me and promised me, I don’t want to insult Him, do you?

Prayer: LORD, we confess that we don’t always know or remember Your promises, and we waste so many prayers asking You for things You’ve already given us! Thank You for Your faithfulness in honoring all of Your promises. Keep reminding us, so that we can pray confidently, thanking You for all that You’ve provided, rejoicing that You love us and want the best for us, and looking forward to when You reign victorious in a new heaven and a new earth. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

30 thoughts on “Are You Insulting God?

  1. You sight excellent points and help explain another reason Christians are sometimes reluctant to pray aloud in groups. A local pastor recently spoke against people saying “Lord, I just…” in prayer. More than ever I am thankful God knows every crevice of our hearts and He is faithful to correct us as needed – while we are faithful.

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    1. I hope I haven’t added to any feelings of incompetence! “I just …” have had the Lord fine-tune my prayers over time and want to encourage others to look at what we already have, and what He has promised. If I’ve been judging others’ faith on the basis of their public prayers, I need to repent… Thanks for presenting a perspective I hadn’t thought of.

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      1. Chuckling here… I can report I hear you fine. In ” my vast realm of experience” the few times someone’s critique, or criticism genuinely offended me it was because I needed to pay attention to something that needed more work. When God tells us to look closer at what we’re doing, and we humbly obey, Joy usually abounds. And that right soon. We’re good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your post! I find that starting my prayers by praising God for who He is and the manner in which He has always dealt with me seems to get rid of asking for things that He has already told us He will do. It’s an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness and it just kind of gets rid of the distance thing. Hard to explain. Sometimes even words just aren’t sufficient. I talk to God like He’s there beside me and often I just know He is. I also find that my prayers have evolved over time, their much more personal and honest and I actually love that. Great post Ann! Grace and blessings as always.

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  3. Amen!

    A very encouraging message, thank you. This has also been my thinking, praises and thanksgiving for our very breath of life. To think positive, there’s too much negative in the world to solely concentrate on, which only brings us down. But looking up in hope and in faith, holding on to His promises, knowing them, saying them is a soothing, blessing of assurance that He is always there.
    God is love and everything He does is in that love. Even our chastisement is to lead us to Him. God is awesome and everything is done for our good, with a positive attitude, outlook our spirit will be calmer in the face of adversity.

    Thank you again for an uplifting piece. God bless you richly.

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  4. Ann, a lot of people are on the same page as you. Sadly, others are not. While I sometimes cringe, He reminds me to pray for those who are not as mature in their knowledge and faith. It has taken eight decades for Him to bring me this far. Blessings as we endure with those who are still on the path. :).

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  5. You made some really good and valid points here. Yes, we need to think about what we are saying when we pray to God and not just repeat whatever we have heard others say, for there is a tendency to just recite what we have heard from others, especially what we heard when we were children. We need to examine a lot of what we heard as children to make sure that what we are believing and what we are repeating is the truth.

    And, we need to make sure, too, that what we say we are believing, that we are living it, too, for if we are not, then we can’t really claim the promises of God over our lives. Not saying we have to be perfect, but that if we are walking in the darkness and not in the light, we can’t claim God’s promises over our lives. For, we can insult God by minimizing his promises to us, and we can insult God by claiming his promises when we minimize and hide sins and pretend righteousness, too.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Thank you may God bless you. Your blogs teach me and remind me of truths that I too easily let go of. I love how they are honest and relatable and don’t make us feel bad for not being perfect or for not understanding everything. It’s ok to learn and grow. ❤

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  7. Great post as always!! I love being able to use scripture to cover our concerns with truth..love the examples of scripture you gave!
    I also enjoyed reading the comments people left!!

    Like

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