Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2
When I came across this scripture a few years ago, a holy hush came over my mouth. My immediate thought was I have been talking way too much! This scripture stumped me for weeks, as I pondered over it, trying to figure out how to proceed in prayer after discovering these reverence-provoking Words.
But then I found it to be a relief! It was a great verse to use to de-clutter my prayer closet. It made me think about what I was bringing before God. Instead of just pitching anything and everything up to Him, I became more selective.
Do these words make you uncomfortable?
Maybe you are asking, “Can’t we take anything before God, no matter how small?” Of course we can, but let it only be those things that have real purpose or are of eternal value. Remember what James said?
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3.
Need more convincing?
“…because ye ask amiss; not in the faith of a divine promise; nor with thankfulness for past mercies; nor with submission to the will of God; nor with a right end, to do good to others, and to make use of what might be bestowed, for the honour of God, and the interest of Christ” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.
I think Gill’s Exposition says it most adequately if we think in terms of praying for something frivolous, like snow. Don’t we love a good, deep snow? (Especially when you live in the south where they are few and far in between, barring a polar vortex!) Let me share a story with you just to put this in context:
“When my girls were small, we had Sunday night devotions, and we always closed with prayer. We would circle around the table and share our prayer requests to record collectively in our family Prayer Closet Organizer. One February night, my daughter Kassie happily rattled off her prayer request for snow so she and her sister Kallie could stay home from school the next day. This was a teachable moment… Praying for snow could be detrimental to drivers’ road safety, jeopardize some people’s jobs, not to mention increase the hardship some endure who do not have heat or the money to pay their heating bills. I reminded them to check the motives of their hearts before they form prayer requests. Our prayer petitions should be meaningful and for the good of God’s will.”(Excerpt from “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” Abingdon Press)
Based upon scripture, commentaries and all the negative things that can happen to other people due to inclement weather you can easily see why there would never be a scenario where I would feel it appropriate for my family to bow our heads to God in prayer to ask for something as frivolous as snow. Can you imagine? Even the notion of it seems so silly. Yet, we are prone to pray such things!!!
Instead of focusing on frivolous things, here are just a few examples of appropriate situations to take to the Lord:
When something makes us anxious, make a petition (Philippians 4:6)
When we are ill, request prayers (James 5:14)
When we feel threatened, call upon the name of the Lord (Psalm 3)
When we need wisdom, we only need to ask (James 1:5-8)
When we are distressed, we can petition God’s peace (Psalm 4)
When we need help, we must cry out to God (Psalm 5)
I am sure you can think of some more situations and scriptures!
But, if you want snow, a summer vacation or extra money for a home improvement project, reconsider before adding it to your prayer list. Let your words be few! God is our heavenly Father, not our fairy God-Father.
“If we thus seek the things of this world, it is just in God to deny them. Unbelieving and cold desires beg denials; and we may be sure that when prayers are rather the language of lusts than of graces, they will return empty”. – Matthew Henry
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Gina Duke is the author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press). She would love to have you subscribe to her blog at GinaDuke.com. Look for her on Pinterest – Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke