We all know we should pray. We all have a head-knowledge that prayer works. That it is the key to reducing anxiety and unleashing the power of God in our life and circumstances. But our heart-knowledge isn’t always quite there. Oftentimes, we shrink back from prayer because we don’t want to “bug” God.
I had a conversation with a woman this weekend about prayer. She said she didn’t want to seem like she was begging to God, annoying Him with all her repeated requests for things that didn’t seem that important in the grand scheme of things.
This is nothing more than a lie from the pit of hell that all too many of us believe. The enemy of your soul would love nothing more than for us to forgo prayer and try to fly solo in our own strength. He knows we will fall flat on our faces without God.
- “God doesn’t want to hear about all your petty problems.”
- “God has bigger stuff to deal with in the world.”
- “God is tired of you bugging Him all the time with your begging.”
Lie. Lie. Lie.
[Tweet “Your prayers don’t bug God, they bless Him.”]
God actually is blessed when we bug him in prayer. It shows faith and dependence. It recognizes Him as the sovereign God that He is, controlling all aspects of our lives.
So how did I answer this dear friends concerns about bugging God? I went to what God Himself says about prayer.
This familiar passage says,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NKJV)
The word “supplication” there means “to ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly.” There’s the word prayer, but there is also the word for begging. In other words, go ahead and beg to God. Go ahead and bug God.
Then there’s the examples Jesus gave about prayer when the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. So Jesus is giving instructions here on how to pray by telling them a couple of stories. I like to call them The Nagging Widow, and The Annoying Friend.
The Nagging Widow
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
” (Luke 18:1-8)
Let’s face it, this woman was persistent. She was annoying. The judge said she was driving Him crazy! God wants us to drive Him crazy with our prayers. (Not that we can really drive God crazy, of course.)
The Annoying Friend
Then there’s this guy,
“And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
“So I say to you, 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. (Luke 11:5-10)
Can you imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night to ask you for some bread? I would be annoyed. I would probably point them to the nearest 24-hour store and send them on their way. If it was an emergency, I could see waking me up, but bread? Really?! God sees every request of yours worthy of bugging Him.
In both of these passages, God is inviting us to be persistent in our prayers. I use the words nagging and annoying, and those have negative connotations in our language. But our prayers are neither nagging or annoying to God.
Too often we project our human feelings and emotions onto our Holy, Perfect God. God. God doesn’t think or feel like we do. We were made in His image, He wasn’t made in ours.
So if you are shying away from prayer because you don’t want to bug God, look again at the end of the last passage I shared above:
“So I say to you, 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.” (Luke 5:9-10 NKJV)
Ask. Seek. Knock. These words are in the present perfect tense. It means literally, “keep on asking”, “keep on seeking”, “keep on knocking”.
Sounds like begging to me!
How about you?
Do you feel like you are bugging God when you pray for something repeatedly?
Do you shy away from small prayers because you don’t think they are important enough?
Are you ready to be bold, annoying and nagging in your prayers?