Praying With Expectation And Praying With Expectations
Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
. (Psalm 5:3 NIV)
Have you ever prayed for deliverance? I mean, prayed so hard, heart wide open, soul laid bare before God, crying out for a way out?
And you wait. The ground stays hard and frozen. The high waters stay high and you’re still drowning.
You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d]
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
my eyes are dim with grief.
It seems, nothing happens. Like Heman, the Ezrahite writer of Psalm 88. A disturbing psalm, because it has no “I trusted God and God delivered me” kicker at the end.
When this happens, I ask questions, usually, before I give up. Didn’t I pray hard enough? Wasn’t my heart open enough? Was my laid bare soul un-noticed by God?
When I found myself in a pit of despair recently, I took a breath and allowed a loving look in the mirror of my soul. What I saw was that I was expecting something, a particular thing, to happen. I let that become expectations – how I would answer the prayer I’d prayed.
So I began to see there’s a difference between praying with expectation and praying with expectations. It’s the difference between telling God what’s good for me and knowing God has promised good to me.
What if I prayed that same prayer, but afterward, kept my eyes wide open? Instead of looking for my expectations, to look with expectation. What would I notice then? Perhaps some small thing that didn’t match my expectations, so I cast it aside.
When I pray for deliverance and God answers with the unexpected, can I trust Him and explore?
Moving away from expectations and toward expectation may not reveal the answer, but moving toward it may reveal something in me.
I forget that God’s ways are not my ways.