Monday

Do We Limit God by Our Prayers?

Limiting God is an interesting concept.

I mean, God is omnipotent (all powerful) right? So how could we, wimpy frail humanity limit the almighty God of the universe?

But we can.

Scripture says so.

James 4:2 says "You do not have because you do not ask."

And sometimes we limit God because we ask for something with wrong motives (James 4:3).

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ask God for something "impossible." Many of you know that I recently accepted the position as editor for South Carolina's Reach Out, Columbia magazine. As I prepared to assume this position, I knew I could no longer postpone the purchase of a laptop computer. My nine-year old desktop dinosaur was not a safe repository for all the information for which I would be responsible.

As I placed my order for my new laptop, I read the shipping date with a sinking heart. "This product will be available to ship on October 16."

October 16?! That was two days AFTER my important meeting with the current editor, during which I was supposed to receive all the files and downloads from the magazine!  October 16 was TOO LATE!!!

In vain I tried calling all the electronics stores in town to see if they might have the model I wanted to order, but to no avail.

Finally, I clicked "Purchase" on the Dell website and sighed. I supposed I would make due until the computer arrived sometime after October 16.

And then, an amazing thing happened.

Faith flickered up in my heart.

I remembered the words of James 4:2 -- "You do not have, because you do not ask God."

Now I am not naive enough to believe that God is going to give me everything I ask for simply because I ask for it. He is too wise and too loving for that. He knows much more about my situation than I do, and many times will override my prayers because He knows He has a better plan.

But faith bubbled up in me as I put my request through the filter of God's word.  I was not asking with wrong motives -- I simply wanted to be able to handle my new responsibility as editor as conscientiously as possible from Day 1. I was not asking for something bad or selfish. I was just considering asking God to override the shipping policy of one of the biggest electronics companies in the world for my benefit.

I realized that it might be God's will for me to wait on my computer, but I also realized that I might be limiting God's hand by not having enough faith to ask Him to help my computer arrive in time for my meeting.  "You have not because you ask not" was ringing in my ears.

And so my prayer went something like this: "God, thank you for the opportunity to assume this new role as editor. This opportunity came from your hand. Now God, in order to do this job well, I need a laptop. And I reeeealy need a laptop by Monday, October 14. Actually God, since I'm asking you for the impossible anyway, it would be especially helpful to have it by Saturday, October 12, so I will have some time to become familiar with it before the meeting on Monday. Would you be gracious to me and bring my computer to me in time?"

And then I went a step further.

I decided if I was going to go out on a faith limb, I was going to go all the way out. I called two of my prayer partners and asked them to pray for the impossible with me. Then I called my daughter.

"I ordered the new laptop that I need for my meeting on Monday, but it's not scheduled to ship until Wednesday," I said.

"Uh, how's that gonna work?" she asked me.

"Oh, I asked God to bring it to me by Saturday."

"Uh huh," she replied.


Thursday afternoon there was a knock at my door.


It was the Fed Ex man with my new computer in his hand.

"WOW!" I rejoiced, "You are an ANSWER TO PRAYER!"

"People say that to me all the time," he replied.

"Oh, if you only knew. . . " I said in return.

I wonder sometimes, how many "miraculous" answers to prayer I have missed simply because I accepted the "facts" of my situation without surrendering them in faith to my heavenly Father?

May I never be guilty again of missing a blessing God has for me simply because I fail to ask.

Will you join me in faith as we go before the throne of God with confidence?

Will you join me in believing God?





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