Recently we were given a deadline from our mission organization to get to the field due to logistics and personnel. We quickly felt the urgency to get our support and get to our post. That urgency quickly led to a gut-wrenching, sick feeling about the possibility of not meeting our deadline and having to wait nearly another year to get to the field. With my wife in tears, I still felt a peace about the situation. The Holy Spirit recalled scripture to my mind about persistent, faithful prayer and God’s goodness. I looked at my wife and told her that God would meet our deadline and we would get to the field quickly. I told her that I would be persistently asking our Father, demonstrating how I’d ask like my three year old asks of me with an innocent, nothing-but-cuteness look with his head tilted and his eyelids fluttering, “pretty please, with sugar on top.”
I ask expectantly, hopefully not out of naivety or presumption, but out of a biblically informed and intimate relationship with my Father. For, I have a good and all-loving Father who gives generously. An unrighteous father will give rightly to his asking child, not a snake instead of a fish, a stone instead of bread, nor a scorpion instead of an egg. Even a sinful human father knows how to give good gifts to his children, but our Heavenly Father gives immeasurably better gifts to His children who petition him (Luke 11:8-13; Matthew 7:7-11).
I penitently petition God in prayer with the utmost confidence in His answer. I truly believe I will receive that for which I am praying (Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24). Not because He has to say yes, but because I know my Father. He hears my voice and I listen to His. I am assured in spirit that He has prepared us for a time and now sends us. I know that He has called us to go in a specific way. I know that I am not laboring in vain, as God is the one who has prepared a plan for us and led us down our current path (Psalm 127:1). I truly believe that for which I am asking is according to His will and have confidence in Him to give my requests (1 John 5:14-15). This confidence is rooted in my understanding of the very character of God. His attributes allow me to be assured of His answer. Not just because I request faithfully, but because I know that His answer will be right, just, and perfect. I know that He knows what is best. If I am to patiently wait, I know that He will extend grace in such a way that I can find rest in His plan.
The scroll of my life is still unrolling. While I can’t see the immediate future, I know that my God has plans to prosper me and allow me to be a part of His ultimate plan. He always has my best interests in mind, even when I may not. In my current request, I am asking with the “rightest” motives I can muster and place my hope in His goodness to receive well (James 4:3). Furthermore, I ask in the name of His only Son, Jesus, with whom I have a personal and intimate relationship, and in this asking, I truly desire for God to be glorified (John 14:13-14). I want to see Him glorified in my faithful following to go, the churches and families willful sending of us, in our partners sacrificial, obedient giving, and in the carrying out of the ministry to which He has for us.
I am faithfully praying without ceasing and not losing heart as I continually come to my Father with my request, asking “pretty please.” The persistent widow was granted her request by an unrighteous judge, as she kept coming to him and bothering him with her good request (Luke 18:1-8). My confidence in not in simple pestering, in that I am bugging God. For I have a good Father and a righteous judge. Rather, I seek to demonstrate to my Father through my persistent prayer that I have a fervent faith in Him with a tenacious trust that He will rightly answer according to His perfect character and for His greatest glory.
Therefore, Lord, I ask, “pretty please…with sugar on top.”