1 John 3:21–22 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
There are many things I have prayed to receive and did not get. Today, I can say I am thankful I did not get them. But in the moment I felt rejected, ignored, and denied what I believed to be rightfully mine. Many times I became bitter or pursued the “thing” fervently, wasting much time and energy on something not meant to be. My heart’s desire in the moment was not to please the Lord, but to please self. Even if I convinced myself it was for Him, it really wasn’t – it was for me. Not receiving what I asked for resulted in my feeling denied and the true position of my heart revealed.
I’m not saying that God denies our prayers when we are selfish to punish us. No, God does not punish us – Jesus has already justified us so therefore there is no need for punishment. But I know in those moments, our loving Father tested my heart to show me to whom I had aligned my will. I was not pursuing righteousness or following hard after God. I was not waiting on Him at all. He weighed my heart and I was found lacking. Humbled by the revelation, I confess my sinfulness and receive His comfort. In my heart I hear Him saying, “It’s going to be okay. I love you. Trust me. I will take care of you.”
While our prayers for our basic needs and special requests may not always be selfish, they can still take our eyes off of God if not put in proper perspective. We must ask ourselves: “Will I trust Him with the answer? Will I thank Him and praise Him for the ‘no’s’ with as much as the ‘yes’s?’’’ If we seek to please Him, to glorify Him and to serve Him alone, our prayers will be aligned with His will and our hearts in a better position to say, “Yes, Lord! You know best!”
Matthew 6:31–33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.