Foxhole prayers are a lot like the vending machine approach. So are credit card prayers that promise remuneration at a later date—they always remind me of the request from Popeye’s friend Wimpy, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
Have you received a prayer chain email that ends with a warning: “if you don’t send this email to ten people in the next hour, you won’t be blessed and neither will they.”
Prayers like these assume that “I am in control.” I figure out the best solution to whatever issue is at hand, and then let God know what he should do. “Now is the time God. I’ve got this great idea.”
Next time I come to God with a list for Him to fulfill, perhaps He will ask me some of the questions He asked Job:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.
“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths?
“Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know!”
“Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?”…
“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
And I will remember who God is, and who I am, and fall on my knees in awe and trembling.
“Lord, forgive me for my arrogance. I believe in You, Almighty Creator, who holds the whole world and universe in your hands. Your will be done.”