Picture the scene: after many years, the day of anticipation has come–the day your loved one will propose. Sure enough, you are at your favorite expensive restaurant. He has already bought you roses and now this. As you are sitting at a candlelit table, you see him fidgeting and then he does it –he gets on his knees with something in his hands. It’s a ring.
For the next two minutes (which seem like an eternity), he tells you all about the ring. He tells you the number of carots of the diamond. He tells you about the wedding band. He tells you how he got it fitted. ….. and then he puts it back in his coat pocket.
AHHHHH! what just happened? Did he propose to me or not? If he tried to, he didn’t do it very well. It was more of an “informational proposal”.
Although this little story seems kind of ridiculous, I think we do the same thing with God in our prayers. We come before Him and start to talk to Him and we give Him information about something that concerns us and why, as well as how we want Him to answer the prayer. Then we stop talking. What have we done but give Him information that He already knows.
Friends, there is all the difference in the world between “informational prayers” and “expectant prayers”. Informational prayers accomplish very little with the exception we feel like we have done our part in praying to God, but have we really accomplished anything?
On the other hand, “expectant prayers” not only convey to God the concern we have and why, and even a desired outcome, but they are significantly different from “informational prayers” .
First, of all, after the words of our heart are spoken to God, they are offered to Him. We give our concerns away. Where the man in the above “engagement” illustration fell short is that he never offered his loved one the ring. He never let it go to her. We need to let go of our concerns and transfer them to God and trust Him to go to work (for His ultimate glory).
God loves it when we do this. We need to “cast all our anxieties on Him for He cares about us” (1 peter 5:7).
A second major difference in these two types of prayers is in expectation. Where there is information being shared, there is no expectation for any change to really happen-it is just a report on the current state of things.
With “expectant prayer”, we come to One who has all power, and all sovereignty to make things happen and we mention to Him that we entrust our concerns to Him to do as He sees it. Why would He respond to our prayers? Because He loves you and He is able to affect your concern.
How many prayers has God heard from me and maybe you where all that is being done is a retelling of all the information He already knows. How He must long to hear us say, “I give up on trying to change this situation and stop worrying about it. God, I’m asking you to help me. Even though this situation looks bad, I believe you can do all things-even raise someone from the dead. I’m asking you to bring about your perfect plan in this situation. I trust you to do what’s best and that your name would be honored through it.”
He loves this kind of expectant prayer and He loves to reveal to a searching world what an awesome God He is.
So, the next time you pray, when you are done, see if you still hold those requests in your heart, or if you have truly released those concerns to God, so that you are free, hopeful, and expectant.