Please Stop Begging God To Be Good

Please Stop Begging God To Be Good February 12, 2020

For most of my Christian life, I was trained to pray to God a certain way. This form of petitionary prayer is essentially an exercise in begging God to be merciful, or kind or loving towards us or those we love most.

Honestly, this is how I’ve prayed to God for over 40 years now. But recently I’ve started to realize how pointless and stupid this is.

Why? Because what I’m doing is begging God to be good, and that is like asking water to be wet or begging the sun to keep shining. It’s a waste of energy and it honestly assumes that God won’t be good unless I beg for it.

It also assumes that God won’t be good, or kind, or loving, or merciful unless I get enough people to beg along with me. This is sort of what we’re doing when we ask our friends to pray for us, or post on Facebook asking for prayer support for something.

Do we believe that God won’t pay attention to our needs unless we recruit a large enough crowd to shout loud and long enough?

Until recently, I never questioned my own behavior when it comes to prayer. I still catch myself asking for others to pray for me, or coming to God in this begging mode that assumes God won’t be who God is unless I ask God to be who God is.

What I’m trying to learn to do now is to start by quietly sitting in silence to meditate on the goodness of God. I remind myself of all the times God has proven faithful to me, or to my family. I count my blessings. I recall situations where I was desperate, fearful, alone, sick, broke, and in jeopardy. Then I remember how God showed up, blessed me, touched me, helped me, rescued me or provided for me in those moments.

In other words, I take time to remember who God already is and what God has already done to demonstrate this goodness and mercy to me – over and over again.

Once I have that locked into my mind, and my heart is wrapped in the awareness of God’s amazing goodness, I can then consider whatever fear or need or challenge I’m facing at this moment. I can see it reflected in the eyes of a God who is already good, who already loves me, who already knows what I need before I ask.

Honestly, once I’ve done this, there’s really no need to say anything else. I simply realize that God is already good and I start to celebrate God’s goodness and to thank God for being a loving, kind, merciful, caring God who has consistently proven this to me countless times before.

My fears subside in the presence of God’s love. My doubts dissipate in the awe of God’s mercy. My needs fade into the background of God’s amazing grace.

So, I have learned to cast my cares upon God, because first I take the time to remember all of the astounding ways that God cares for me.

This new way of praying has really helped me to reorient my perspective. I think it might do the same for you, if you’re willing to try it.

Let me know how it goes.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Herm

    This is exciting, Keith, you’re there.

    Warning, I am going to be cutting and pasting for those who won’t believe enough to read this for themselves. As always, I recommend that everyone who cares goes further to verify the context. I could testify to this reality of relationship with and in God, and those from (of) God would listen. But this was written in testimony for those seeking God over 1,900 years, ago, and is just as applicable and fresh in truth as it was then:

    1 John 4:4-6 (NIV2011)

    You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

    Are you listening? … to whom? …does he (do they) hear you?

    John 3:5-6 (NIV2011)

    Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

    John 14:17 (NIV2011)

    the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

    John 16:13 (NIV2011)

    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

    John 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    I, too, used to depend on meditative prayer moments of each day, too often in petitioning. For the last 25 years, ever growing in relationship, prayer has become continual because I quit calling God when I wanted something, even if it was to say thank you, and embraced the Holy Spirit (who can appear as like a dove) to fill me, remain with me and lead me into the wilderness forever, without pause. We, all of God who the Spirit fills, commune together working, resting, playing, savoring, living. Those persons of God, including infant children born of the Spirit like me in the body of God (100% spirit), have no mouth to speak with, no ears to hear with, no nose to smell with, no eyes to see with, and no nervous system throughout our organs to feel with because those are carnal and will cease to perform for all. We each have an eternal heart, soul, mind of spirit to share with and in each other.

    God knows our, we children of Man born of water (in bodies 75% water) on earth, needs and aspirations before we do, and has already influenced the best process we allow to lovingly meet our every constructive (good) need and aspiration. All of God are in each other, as I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me. I don’t have any need to know Jesus by a spoken or written name, but simply by his presence within me I recognize as his heart, soul, mind, and like that the presence in me of my Father’s heart, soul, mind of spirit.

    As a son of Man on earth I occasionally still talk to God with my physical mouth, putting emphasis on what I was feeling and thinking, already understood by whomever I was addressing from my heart and mind, much like addressing, “our Father, who is in heaven, holy is your name!” What is written in the Gospels of the Messiah’s conversations with his Father was what were only from the carnal mouth of the Son of Man. The Holy Spirit guiding him was often heard, to then be chronicled, as words coming from Jesus carnal mouth. All filled with the Holy Spirit, since when Jesus gave up his spirit, boldly speak the word of God that he shares in our heart and mind of spirit.

    I am excited and wondering why I’m impressed to be so bold as to write all of this now. I trust that all who listen to hear this can bear it today, or shortly in the future. For sure, somebody needs this now, maybe it is you Keith?!?! Not mine to judge.

    Love you and I am so happy to hear you are conversing with God without petition, creed, ritual or incantation, simply just being in relationship together, like any child in love with her/his family would, every day. What is denied all carnal families in their relationship is being able to converse and savor together in the Spirit every moment, without pause, without end. … and so it is written.

  • AWRM

    I have a related conundrum and maybe some ‘o them smart people reading can enlighten me.

    Love the Lord’s Prayer… I pray it all the time. Think about the fact that God is in heaven… S/He’s on our side like a parent – alive and powerful… thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth like it is in Heaven… Ya., make me a part of establishing a society (and uh, in me too) like it is in Heaven: Zion! It all ties into Deuteronomy/ Law of Moses for me. So right on the mark for me! The next parts are all straight forward then… God, please don’t lead me into temptation and deliver me from evil.

    Huh?

    Why would God want me to be tempted? I think the bit about evil is an old way of saying “bad consequences that I might even deserve for doing the messed up things that I am predisposed to do all too often”. I’m not totally sure of myself on that but I can live with it. However, I haven’t really come up with what Jesus was saying when he says to ask God not to tempt us to do bad things…

    “C’mon lil’ pilgrim… wouldn’t YOU like to buy more expensive trinkets to impress your hollow friends while mothers watch their children die somewhere else? Think of how much you’d be The Man if you could walk into a room with expensive clothes or impressive bling. This is surely the way to happiness” .

    And then I”m supposed to say “Hey God. Cut it out. I don’t think things are supposed to work out that way. Why are you talking this way? Can you please um… lead me not into temptation?”

    And then God says “Darn. I was having so much fun tempting you but now you’ve uttered the prayer that that Son of mine said to pray and I am honour bound to not do what I like to do with your desperately wicked little hearts. Argh. Okay, okay. You’re right. Forget the trinkets. Send any extra cash to Africa… or maybe the US border”

    As you can see, I’m having some trouble with the theology here…