Once upon a time there was a young man who was hopelessly lost in the forest. He had searched and searched, looked and looked, and still couldn’t find his way out. He was becoming frightened. “What happens if I never find my way,” he said. “I’ll die here in the forest and no one will even know.” The young man even embarrassed himself by shedding a few frightened tears.
Then he began to pray. He hadn’t prayed before or, at least, not very often. He really didn’t even know how to put his need into the correct “official” words of prayer. So he began,
“God, if you’re there, I need help. My name is Len, but I guess you know that. I’m really lost, but I guess you know that too. If you help me find help I promise I’ll be a good person from now on. I’ll go to church every Sunday, or at least I’ll try. I’ll talk to you more often. I won’t break as many of your rules. I’ll do anything you want, if you’ll just save my life. I’ll even be a missionary if that’s what you want!”
Suddenly, as he was praying and stumbling along, the young man broke through a hedge of bushes and found himself on a road with a sign that read, “Gas, Food, Phone, Restrooms – 5 Miles.” Immediately he gave a huge sigh of relief and finished his prayer with,
“Oh, never mind. I found my own way out.”
How like Len we all are. When things are tough we try to get God on our side with promises, promises, and more promises. We’ll say anything. Promise anything we think will help. We think if God likes what He hears maybe we’ll get a miracle.
“For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. Deuteronomy 10:17 (New Living Translation)
There was another time when a young man named Peter had gotten himself into trouble. He had climbed out of a perfectly good boat on the Sea of Galilee. Everything had gone fine for a minute or two, and then it dawned on him where he was and what he was doing. Even though he was doing a good thing and moving toward his master, Jesus, he realized how much danger he was really in and he began to sink. To his credit, he didn’t start making Jesus promises or commitments. He just reached toward Jesus and yelled out, “Save me!” That’s all it took. Jesus snatched him out of the danger. He was safe in the arms of his Lord.
Sometimes the best prayers are not the promises but the simple appeals. God doesn’t need anything you can offer, but He’s waiting for you to just ask His help. Don’t try to bribe Him with promises – just cry out and reach for His hand.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)
Think about it…