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Here is something I often have to remind myself of – prayer is not all about me. I cannot keep throwing up my petitions without balancing my prayer life with God’s requests of me. Our give and take is what makes the relationship. Abraham had the kind of relationship with God that I desire. He was dependent on God, and God depended on Abraham’s obedience to execute his divine plans. I want to be a divine partner with God, don’t you?
But, in order to embrace Abraham’s experience, we must be aware of the various types of requests that God made of Abraham so that we can be prepared to answer Him, as well. Here they are:
- Practical Requests – Sometimes God directs us to change jobs or move to new areas. God desired that Abraham leave his family and travel to a new land. These are probably the most common requests in that they are very do-able, practical requests. (Genesis 12:1)
- Exciting Requests – Sometimes God gives us a specific vision that moves and excites us. At an old age, Abraham found out that God was going to make him a daddy! These are my favorite kind – the kind of requests that produce an outcome that we want as much as God does! (Genesis 17:19)
- Sacrificial Requests – Sometimes God gives us a request that requires something painful or sacrificial that challenges us while accomplishing His will. God imparted the Covenant of the Circumcision to Abraham. Despite how bizarre this sounded, Abraham accomplished it that day. These requests are rare, but somehow there is a perception that these are the only kinds of requests that God makes of us, but they are not. Maybe we are asked to give up something (a TV series, overeating) in order to be obedient to God. Can we immediately do it without complaining as Abraham did? (Genesis 17:17)
- Outrageous Requests – Sometimes God gives us an unbelievable command that we can hardly fathom. It is so daunting that we can’t even share it with others. We hold to it quietly and wait to see what God will do. God did such a thing when he tested Abraham to kill his only son, which He provided a ram for in the end. Abraham discussed this with no one, but in radical obedience made his way to the altar. Mary carried the Messiah in her womb and pondered those things in her heart. In those instances we just have to wait and see what God does! We don’t have to make something happen; we just follow God’s leading and let God do His thing! (Genesis 22)
I am reacquainting myself with these types of requests so that I can stand ready in prayer – ready to answer my heavenly Father with obedience. What about you? Has God requested something of you? If so, which category best fits your divine request?
Gina Duke is the award-winning author of Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press), that introduces the gift of structured prayer journaling. You can enjoy her weekly #ShePrayerJournals weekend workshops on YouTube, and follower her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheGinaDuke.