Praying for Snakes

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Matthew 7:7-12)

Praying for snakes is what happens we\’re so wrapped up in our own emotions and perceived well-being that we cannot see any other possibility or palatable outcome other than that which we desire.  So we ask and ask and ask hoping that we\’ll be like the widow who bugged the judge until he relented and gave her want she wanted (Luke 18:1-8).  And that some how, because of our persistent nagging, God will throw up His hands and say \”here, have what you want but just leave me alone.\”  If that is your view of your relationship with God, then I\’m sorry – because that\’s not His relationship with you, and that\’s not the point of the story.
We must remember that God only gives good gifts (Matthew 7:7-12).  Bad gifts destroy, good gifts edify.  So, if you\’re not seeing what you\’re praying for then there are at least a couple reasons why:

  1. There is something better for you.
  2. You didn\’t hear Him say \”I\’ve got this taken care of – you don\’t need to pray anymore.\”
In other words, you\’re praying for snakes.  You\’re asking God to give you something that He knows is not good for you.  But because of your emotional investment, you either can\’t (or will not) hear Him respond with a better alternative or you can\’t (or will not) hear Him respond in the affirmative that the issue is taken care of.
When life \”happens,\” our first response shouldn\’t be an emotional prayer of \”God, please fix this!\”  Rather, it should be \”God, what are you doing?  What do you want me to learn?  How do I pray through this?\”  The first, emotional response puts you in the position of making God into a vending machine: prayers in, goodies out.  The second response puts you in the position of cooperating with God towards receiving a double blessing.

Maybe you need to back off just a bit and reflect.  Are you praying for snakes when you should be asking for something else?

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