Watch What You Pray For


This is an excerpt from Spurgeon prayer called “Help from on High.”

Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God. Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray thee. Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now. What have we to do with idols any more? Thou hast seen and observed us. Thou knowest where the difficulty lies. Help us against it, and may we now come boldly, not into the holy place alone, but into the holiest of all, where we should not dare come if our great Lord had not rent the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with his own blood, and bidden us enter (emphasis mine).

I think this is the prayer of many of us who struggle with specific idols in our lives. We know it’s a distraction. We know it hinders us from living for Christ. So we pray that God would show great mercy upon our souls by removing anything that would distract us from being totally devoted to Jesus.

To be honest, I’m afraid to pray this kind of prayer. The full weight of such a prayer isn’t typically understood by the one who prays it. Could I be idolizing my money, my comfort, my wife, my relationships, my hobbies, or even my ministry? If God were to take away such things, or alter them in anyway, would I cry and try to hold onto them as long as I can?

Here is the point: we cannot be so bold to ask God to remove our idols, yet complain and fight Him as He takes them away. Didn’t we pray for this? We prayed that God would purge the idols. We prayed that God would make us holy. But when we prayed, we did not realize what we were actually asking. We did not truly comprehend the exact measures God would take to remove these idols, so that our affections would be wholly upon Him.

Because of this, I’m afraid of such prayers. They scare me to death. But fearing these prayers should not prevent me from praying such prayers–we all should. However, as we pray, we need to be mindful of what we are asking of God. We need to be mindful of what it may cost us if God should answer us. If God removes things like relationships, possessions, or  ministry, we should welcome it with open arms.

Let us not think that avoiding such prayers will prevent God from taking away the things we are placing above Him. Whether we pray this or not, God will do a work in in our lives to sanctify us. So even if we are afraid to pray for God to purify us and to purge the idols from our lives, He might choose to remove them anyway.

Beloved, God is jealous for your attention the way a spouse desires attention and love. He will not be robbed of your love. He will not sit back quietly as you give to another the love that is meant for Him alone.

So when we pray these prayers, do we really understand what we’re asking God to do?

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