Tag Archives: the desires of our heart

(I Samuel 1-2) The Bargaining Prayer

It sounds like Hannah is making a bargain with God. If you… then I will…

Is that what are witnessing here? I wonder.

I remember when wearing seatbelts when driving became a law. I, like many, took awhile to get into the habit of buckling up. One morning, as I was heading to work, I was involved in a minor accident. The police were called. And I, who had not been wearing my seatbelt prayed, “God, if you’ll help me not get a ticket for breaking the seatbelt law, I promise I will never drive again without buckling up first.”

Turns out I didn’t get a ticket. And I began fastening my seatbelt every time I drove after that.

Did God accept my deal? Did He accept Hannah’s? We both got what we wanted.

A famous Bible teacher tells of her “salvation experience” by saying that as a divorced mom, she had a driving need to be with a man. Men. She confessed she lived a very sinful lifestyle that made her miserable. She said she didn’t know much about God, but at her lowest point she prayed something like, “God, I give you men, I give you my sons. Do what you will. Just give me peace.” Then she goes on to say at that moment she received the “Prince of Peace.”

Friend, that is NOT salvation, I don’t care who claims it to be. You don’t bargain with God. You don’t trade your sons for peace. Show me in Scripture where that prayer has anything to do with being saved. Scripture tells us peace comes when we humble ourselves, repent of sin, and receive what Jesus died to give us. Not promising to never sleep around again just so you can feel peaceful.

I believe there is a lot we can learn from Hannah. She was evidently a devout believer, a true worshiper of God. The prayer we see her praying was deep, and intimate with the God she loved. And her will, her wants and needs aligned with what God wanted for her.

What I see here is that she wasn’t bargaining with God as much as she was agreeing with Him. My seatbelt prayer, and the prayer of the teacher I sited above weren’t that. We were trying to trade something we had for something we wanted God to do.

Do you want God’s blessing? Then get to know Him. First of all humble yourself, confess that you are a sinner, and repent of sin. Accept the grace of God that is available when you believe the fact that Jesus lived, died on the cross, and rose again so that you can be forgiven. Accept His forgiveness.

Read the Bible. Pray. Worship Him in spirit and truth. Get to know His heart. Set your desires aside and seek His desires for you. Then when you receive the desires of your heart, you’ll realize those were His desires for you all along.

I don’t believe the fact I didn’t get a ticket, or the fact that Hannah got pregnant are signs that we can bargain with God to get what we want. Rather, I believe God blessed us both because of our relationship with Him.

Please don’t bother praying a bargaining prayer. If you need God to do something for you, go to Him on His terms. You have nothing He needs or wants except YOU.

Ingratitude

Ingratitude. That’s what Hiram expressed when King Solomon gave him twenty cities. (I Kings 9) Sure, Hiram had worked hard for Solomon for twenty years building the Temple and the Palace. But Solomon also made Hiram a rich man in the process. And gave him twenty cities on top of it. Hiram just wasn’t happy with the particular cities he was given. He thought he was entitled to something else.

Does ingratitude ever express itself in our own lives? God gives us life, we want health. God gives us forgiveness, we want happiness. God gives us eternal life, we want a successful career. God gives us Himself, we want a Ferrari.

Have you grasped exactly what it is that God has given you? What it cost him? What it means? If you know Jesus as your Savior, you have God Himself living in you! You have the promise of eternity in paradise, You have help for today, and hope for tomorrow. You are forgiven, washed clean, pure. You are loved.

Let’s never take any of this for granted or be ungrateful for God’s blessings. We already have more than we deserve.

Dear God, “thank you” just doesn’t seem sufficient to express what I am feeling this morning. I can’t fully comprehend the extent of your blessings to me, a sinner. Forgive me when I seem ungrateful, when I whine to you about insignificant things, when I pout if I don’t get what I think I need. I know you want me to bring my desires to you in prayer, and I thank you for the times you have answered those prayers. But, God, help me to really grasp what it is I have in YOU. May I live my life out of a grateful heart, cherishing every blessing I have because you are my God. You are all I need. You are all I desire.