Does God exist to serve us, or do we exist to serve Him?
Some people think that God exists to grant us our every want and whim. They use God like a genie, a divine butler in the sky that gives us whatever we ask for without hesitation. Atheists actually seize the moment and use this line of thought to discredit God when a prayer doesn’t get “answered”. At this point, the atheist doesn’t need a straw man because the theist has created one for himself. Fortunately, the God these people are describing isn’t the God of the bible.
We need to look at scripture and see what it says about asking and receiving.
1. James says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” It seems like James is saying that there is a proper and improper motive that’s involved with prayer. You don’t just ask selfishly, and bada bing – the bling and BMW arrive (or in my case – the meatball hero). God is not looking to fuel our passions, but to fortify our peace – feeding selfish passion does not lead to peace.
2. Next, Job says in chap 35:12 “they cry out, but he (God) does not answer, because of the pride of evil men.” Strike two! Pride should go before the fall, but never before the prayer. It’s never a good idea to pridefully ask that God do something based on your own goodness. I did what you told me – I’ve been good! Gimme this, gimme that. I can tell you from personal experience that requests like these don’t work for my kids. So do you think God might be trying to teach us something here? Like learning some humility maybe? Or maybe properly respecting who God is and what He’s given us already?
He is God the Father, not the Godfather ya’know.
3. Last, the writer of Proverbs says in21:13 “whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” Looks like generosity will get you an audience with God, while being stingy will earn you a deaf ear. Jesus says it’s better to give than receive. C’mon, why would God bless you with something knowing that you won’t use it to bless someone else? Keep an open hand with whatever God gives you because your treasure is stored up in heaven, not in stuff.
An improper motive, prideful heart, and stingy attitude will stifle any prayer!
An atheist that says “see, God doesn’t answer prayers” doesn’t understand the function and nature of prayer. Neither does the theist who thinks God is there to serve him. I happily agree with the atheist and don’t believe in this God either. Prayer forges in us a dependence on the true God. We learn patience in His timing, and a trust that He’ll give us what we need, and not necessarily what we want. I wish some theists would understand that.
The funny thing is that both theists and non-theists have an aversion to spoiled kids who get everything they ask for. Yet, when it comes to asking God for something, they operate like spoiled kids – I want it now!
Relax, this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to HIS WILL He hears us (1 Jn 5:14).
My position on the subject is that my God can, my God will, but even if He doesn’t; I won’t bow down to the gifts of the giver, but to the giver of the gifts.
Friends, G-O-D doesn’t stand for Genie On Demand. He is in charge and in control, but He doesn’t exist to serve you. In fact it’s quite the other way around. You are there to serve Him.