There are many times in my life when I have had trust issues. Whilst some have been more constraining than others, all have had a big impact on the way I function and "do life". None more so than my trust issues with God.
A while ago, He highlighted to me that I didn't trust Him. Although I would have said and believed that I did trust Him, my attitude proved otherwise. I learnt that I had and continued to 'direct' God by the expectations I put on Him. This meant that when He didn't do as I wanted or how I expected Him to fulfil promises he had made, that I reverted to a child-like strop. Except rather than being outward with my upset, I inwardly distanced myself from God, and chose to agree with the lies of the enemy that my Father wasn't for me.
I suppose this is why Jesus taught us to pray "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10). As just like he cried out in Gethsemane "yet not what I will but what you will." (Mark 14:36), he is calling us to surrender to the Father's will rather than our own desires despite what the outcome may be.
But when we choose self-service by constraining God with our expectations, it affects our prayer life. We can come with our agenda of how God should or will speak to us, how he should answer our prayers, when he should answer our prayers or in other ways. But no matter what expectations we place over God, he is still free to move as he sees right. Unlike us, who instead become boxed in and remain stuck by our own expectations (at least until we choose repentance).
It can be so easy for us to put these expectations, wants or desires on God without us actually realising that He is the one who knows best. This can mean that sometimes we give up praying for a specific thing/person in frustration, not realising that the wait is for our best. Or we can grow cold-hearted towards God, approaching prayer as a command rather than a chance of fellowship & intimacy.
But our heavenly Father wants us to be completely free, He wants us to be close and connected to Him, He longs for us to know His true nature so that it can transform us and those around us. This reminds me of how Jesus puts it in the beatitudes; "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." (Mathew 5:3 & 5)
To live with this close communion, we need to humble ourselves and ask God for help in trusting him wholeheartedly. Only then will we be able to allow him the place of King and choose His ways and not ours. When we choose to come to him in meekness, then we will feel safe enough to trust His ways above our desire to control. When we fight for connection and intimacy instead of religious rhetoric, then our prayer lives will be steadfast and enduring.
Feel free to pray along with me...
Father, I ask that you would help us to not barricade ourselves against you, but to surrender to your will and your ways. I ask that wherever we may have expectations of what or how you should do something, that you'd bring these to light and that you would also help us to repent of these. I pray that the roots of these expectations would also be revealed, so that we'd be able to process with you our hurts/wounds that need healing and that we'd replace the lies we have believed about you with the truth from your word. Holy Spirit free us to know the Father's steadiness and faithfulness in our own uncertainty. Thank you, God. You are good!
Yolanda is an intercessory missionary at Manchester House of Prayer. She serves in the prayer room as a worship leader. singer and prayer leader and is about to go through our INTRO course.