An Attitude of Expectation: How to Approach Prayer

5 Mins read

The Bible talks a lot about prayer and what God wants our prayers to look like. One of the most important parts about prayer is to expect God to do what it is that you’re asking Him to do.

While God knows the desires of our hearts, He longs for us to bring our needs and our desires to Him. Today, discover more about developing an attitude of expectancy so that when you pray, you see results.

Luke 11:1-4
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Jesus was praying in a certain place when one of the disciples came to Him, asking for a lesson on prayer. Isn’t it remarkable that the men who spent all day every day with Christ still needed to be taught about prayer?

This speaks to two truths that we must hold onto.

First, we must never become unteachable. If the 12 men who Christ hand-selected to be His disciples came to Him needing to know more about one of the most basic concepts of the Christian faith, it’s important that we allow ourselves to always remain open to the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, this passage speaks to the vital role that prayer plays in our lives. First of all, we see that prayer is so important that even Christ was taking the time to pray. Secondly, the disciples recognized how crucial prayer was so they wanted to make sure they were doing it correctly.

Prayer has the ability to alter events, not only in our lives, but also in the lives of others. When we take the time to really embrace this truth, we’re well on our way to understanding the importance of prayer. In James 4:2-3, the half-brother of Christ wrote that we don’t have the things we want because we either don’t ask for them, or when we do ask for them, we ask without any faith.

Faith is the key to prayer. When we ask God to do something, He expects us to have faith that He will do it as long as our requests align with God’s Word. Today, learn more about developing an attitude of expectation. Doing so will not only increase your faith, but it will also change the way that you pray.

Adjusting Your Attitude

Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

You’re faced with a lot of situations in your daily life that you have very little say over. You don’t really get to decide what type of mood your boss is in when you get to work. If you’re a student, you don’t get a lot of say in how much work your professor assigns you.

Even within your own home, there are some things that you have no say over. You don’t’ get to pick your spouse’s mood when he or she gets home from work. While you may be able to improve that mood, there’s very little of it under your control. You don’t ultimately get to choose how your children behave either. However, the one thing that you get to pick every day is your attitude.

The word “attitude” gets thrown around a lot, and it usually carries a negative connotation. When people tell you that you have an attitude, they’re typically saying that you’re coming across as angry or aggressive. However, all of us have an attitude every day. We get to decide what type of attitude we carry.

The things that Paul listed in the verse we just read from Ephesians are a great place to start when we’re trying to adjust our attitudes. When we get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice, it’s much easier to replace those things with the things of God.

When we have an attitude of expectation, it’s less likely that you will be experiencing the things that Paul listed here. For instance, bitterness and anger can’t exist alongside faith, hope, and joy. When you fill yourself with expectancy, you can begin truly shifting your attitude.

Expectation Requires Blind Faith

Genesis 7:5 (NIV)
And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

While we don’t know a lot about Noah’s prayer life, it’s safe to assume that he spent plenty of time communicating with God. After all, out of all the people who were living in the world at that time, Noah was the only one who God told about the flood. Armed with nothing more than an anticipation that God would do exactly what He said He would do, Noah started building an ark.

When he needed details about how to build it, God gave them to him. When he needed information about gathering the animals, God took care of that. Noah and God spent plenty of time talking about how the process was going to work, and even when it looked like nothing was happening, Noah expected rain.

There are times where our faith in God requires us to expect God to do something, even when it looks like nothing is happening. Our prayers don’t always get answered instantaneously. This is because prayer is a crucial part of spiritual warfare. When you pray, you should expect resistance.

In Daniel 10, we read about how Daniel spent 21 days praying without seeing anything happen. However, he didn’t stop. Finally, the angel appeared to Daniel and explained that he had been trying for three weeks to get there, but he had been tied up with spiritual warfare that was the result of Daniel’s prayer.

When you allow your attitude to be one of expectation, you continue expecting, even when you don’t see any progress.

New Strength

Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

There is an old story about a poor widow woman who lived on the food that she grew in her garden. Unfortunately, her area suffered a major drought one summer. While most of her neighbors had other food sources, she was watching the food that she needed for the upcoming winter wilt and die in the ground.

She walked into church one Sunday morning and stopped to speak to the pastor. She told him that she needed the church to pray for rain. Noticing the umbrella in her hand, the pastor asked why she was carrying an umbrella during a drought. Her reply was simple: “If I ask God for rain, I figure I ought to expect rain.”

When you truly embrace an attitude of expectation, you are suddenly infused with a new strength. This strength allows you to wait, even when it seems like nothing is happening. This strength allows you to praise, even when it seems like God isn’t working. This strength allows you to look past what you’re facing and into the goodness of God. This strength allows you to carry an umbrella, even in the face of a drought.

Today, put your hope solely in God so you can renew your strength. Soaring like an eagle and running without growing weary is the byproduct of an attitude of expectancy.

A Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me to shift my attitude. Instead of being filled with fear and doubt, help me to anticipate and expect the good things that You have for me. Help me to focus on what I know about You instead of what I see happening around me. In Christ’s name I ask these things, Amen.

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