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A Simple Test of the Heart

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14: 12-14

I’ve been writing recently about the important role prayer played in the Giants’ World Series win. Prayer is really powerful.  The Bible says you will receive anything you pray for!  But I mean, really?

Even in the world of a believer, there’s a lot of skepticism about this promise. You hear people say, “Oh really, you’re telling me that if I just pray, ‘God, I want a Mercedes Benz,’ and believe I’m going to get it, I’ll get it?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?”  Well, why do you ask for these things?  I think that’s the first part of any prayer.

If you look at the original context, you’ll realize that He will give you what you ask for because you are doing His will.

What is God’s will?  I believe it is God’s will to prosper you.  Prosperity doesn’t always mean finances.  It could mean your family’s health or maybe peace at your job.  There are a lot of different things involved in prosperity, but they all have one thing in common.  It’s an issue of the heart.

God looks at the heart of all people.  Men and women alike, He looks at your heart.  And if you sit there and say, “God, I pray for a million dollars,” I’m going to guess that the first thing God’s going to ask is why you want a million dollars.  If you want a million dollars so that you can gloat about being rich, there is a good argument that says, “I don’t know if He’s going to give it to you.”

I pray for finances.  I really do.  I pray for them, and I believe I’m going to get them.  I can’t necessarily tell you why God grants my prayers.  But I can tell you the reasons in my heart for wanting finances.  I see all the good I can do with them.  Also, my wife and I tithe and offer because we know that the money is not ours.  Any money that we’ve been given was given to us because God allowed us to have it.  And I believe that He asks for some of that money back.

But if you say, “Aw, here, I guess I have to give some of it back,” then God doesn’t want it.  In the time of David, you were required by law to bring out your tithes and offerings.  The law said you had to give up lambs in sacrifice.  Yet David said to God, “You could care less about sacrifices.  You don’t care about my sacrifice, you care about my heart.  And if my heart is not right, the sacrifice means nothing.”  I think that’s why Jesus ultimately came and died, because God was tired of animal sacrifices done without heart.

God says, “When you give, give with a cheerful heart.”  He doesn’t want your sacrifice when you say, “Oh, I’ll do whatever I want, and just throw a sacrifice on the grill there real quick, and I’ll be good to go for the next year.”

I think God looks at your heart when it comes to everything.  If your prayer is birthed in sin, it will never happen.  Why would God do that?  But if your prayer is birthed in the understanding of bringing hope and grace and power, and the empowerment of people to believe in God, then yes, I can fully believe that you’re going to receive what you pray for.

I’m on vacation with my family this week, but I’ll see you next Tuesday with more thoughts about prayer.

3 thoughts on “A Simple Test of the Heart

  1. Good words, Jeremy. I have that as I quiet myself I hear the things and people that He wants me to pray for – and when I listen to His Voice, it brings me into alignment with His Will. I just pray that I can do this more consistently!

  2. I just found my way over here from A Mile From The Beach. Good stuff.

    I find that you can pray for whatever you want. But God doesn’t listen to your words or even your thoughts. He listens to your heart. Therefore, you will often get not what you ask for, but what you need. God will grant you the things from your heart – strength, courage, love, hope, etc… Everything else you might receive are just things – money, cars, rings, etc… As God’s chosen people we will not be known for our bank accounts or our titles or our riches. We will be known for our hearts and God wants us to have the best hearts out there.

  3. In one of my favorite terrible movies, LEGION (and it really is bad, like a C- film that belongs on SyFy on Saturday morning), God decides to destroy humanity again, and orders the Archangel Michael to personally kill the unborn child that is destined to save us.

    Michael refuses God’s command and leaves heaven in order to protect the child’s mother until she gives birth. So the Archangel Gabriel takes on the job that Michael rejected. The two argue about this at various points during the movie. Michael prevails, of course, and does so with God’s help. Gabriel doesn’t understand, but Michael does. He tells Gabriel, “You gave Him what He wants, I gave Him what He needs.”

    The movie really doesn’t hold up to even the most casual scrutiny, but still, I enjoyed the way the script took Christian assumptions and turned them inside out, aiming some of our most common aphorisms in God’s direction. This pried me out of complacency and forced me to really start thinking about prayer, and how God responds.

    Jeremy, check this out: at the point in the movie where Michael has just explained that God has sent His legion of angels to destroy humanity, Dennis Quaid’s character snarls, “I don’t believe in God.” And Michael responds, “That’s okay, He doesn’t believe in you, either.” LOL! Nice gesture to Dumas and the Count of Monte Cristo. 🙂

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