November 14, 2012

Asking Better

Romans 8:26-30

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
—Romans 8:28


God says the motives behind our prayers are important. So, what does it take to ask with better motives?

Traditionally, many Christians have found that a good “motive check” is to see if we can pray openly in any of the possible directions in which God might lead.

For example, if you are a student, you might pray that God will help you get a good grade on a project, but you might pray also that he helps you grow as a student if your score is low.

Or, if you are married and your relationship is not going well, you might pray that your marriage will revive, but you might also ask for the grace to be Christlike to your spouse if the struggles continue.

I’ve generally found that when my motives are selfish, I often have a lot of trouble even mentioning the other options to God. I’d rather make one simple demand: God, I need this!

In situations like that, I’m probably showing that I need help with my heart even more than with my circumstances.

Generally what I need is for God to reassure me of his goodness, reminding me that he will give me what I would ask for if I knew what he knew.

I can’t ask for more than that, right?

Lord, it’s a lot easier to ask for your help than to ask for your will. Please open my mind to pray for your best plans for me. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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