08/22/16 False Prayer Requests

READING: Jeremiah 38-42

Jerusalem was on the verge of falling. Some of the remaining army officers, followed by the people, decided to call upon Jeremiah for help. In their actions we find both good and bad responses to the troubles of life.

First, they did indeed seek the man of God and his prayers: “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant . . . . Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do” (Jer 42:2-3). It’s a smart move to seek guidance from God, and we should always go to Him to find out where to go and what to do. On the other hand, the fact that the people of Jeremiah’s day spoke of God as only the prophet’s God (“your God”) at least hints at trouble to come. 

Second, we must learn to be patient when waiting on the Lord. The people found themselves in a difficult situation. They sought the prophet, and God still took some time to give Jeremiah a response: “Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah” (Jer 42:7). Ten days may not seem long, but any delay is hard to accept when your world is in trouble. Godly patience is right.  

Third, it’s foolish to seek God’s Word if we’ve already made up our minds. The people told Jeremiah they’d obey whatever God said (Jer 42:6), but the prophet sensed they’d already decided they were going to escape to Egypt regardless of what God told them: “I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he has sent me to tell you” (Jer 42:21). Their track record betrayed their words. Little in their past suggested they would truly obey God — and they would later die under His judgment even though they had asked Jeremiah to pray for them. 

For me, the primary question of the day is whether I sometimes pray, or ask others to pray for me, when I’ve already decided what I plan to do in the first place. If I’m completely frank, I sometimes ask for prayer, hoping only that God would confirm what I’ve already determined. That’s hardly trusting God, and that’s certainly not faith. In fact, it borders on idolatry as I establish myself on my throne and hope God will join me there.  


  • In the power of God’s Spirit, test the motives behind all your prayer concerns today. Do you simply want God to confirm your ideas?  
  • Make sure you have someone to whom you can regularly go for prayer support. If you don’t have that person, plan to enlist somebody this week. 

PRAYER: “God, bring me to the place where I can daily, honestly pray, ’Not my will, but Yours be done.’”    

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 43-45








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