Leila, my daughter, has a persistance about her like no other. When she wants something she will try several different techniques to get it. Some of her strategies don’ really make me beam with pride as a father, but others have me smiling in awe often.
Some of her techniques are unfavorable classics like:
1. The pout/shout. These are abrasive and use negative motivation to get my reaction/response. Basically in order to get her to stop crying I am being urged to satisfy her request. Clearly as I have improved in my parenting ability, this method has proven to be the least successful for her and in turn less frequently used.
2. Manipulation. She also has tried to manipulate me with lies and deceit. She might use her mother against me, claiming that she said that she could have the request in question. This has proven relatively successful for her because often I discover the inaccuracy after Leila has received her ill-gotten gains.
3. Just Take It. One thing that just about never works for her is the just take it without asking method. The only way that she ever keeps what was taken is the rare instance that I don’t notice that she has it. Otherwise, she automatically loses it due to the disrespectful way that she operated.
4. “But You Said.”
By far, the most successful way that she has received something is using my words against me.
She has the ability to remember something I told her from days/weeks previously. This is a brilliant strategy, because it appeals to my ego as well as reminding me that she listens to me. It reminds me that my ability to follow through is on trial and my faithfulness is being tested. I have dealt with years of disappointment due to unfulfilled promises. It is my mission as a parent to stick to my word. Let my yes be yes and my no be no. Honesty and integrity need to be calling cards of my manhood and my fatherhood.
The same strategies that Leila has used as a five year old are in use today by many Christians.
The pout/shout strategies focus more on our feelings. They attempt to pull at the heart strings of God by showing negative emotions until we are satisfied. God hears our shouts and our cries, but more than that He knows our hearts. He is not satisfying crocodile tears.
Manipulation strategies are not very successful either – to say the least. It is amazing how much of the world tries to fool God into giving them what they desire. We will sometimes explain and justify the need of the request when we know that it is out of His will, presumably thinking that He will never know we lied. Unlike me He knows before you even attempt to lie.
The Take it strategy fails more than all others. Just as it does for Leila, it just about guarantees failure because our unrighteous actions disrespect God. It shows a lack of faith and trust in his provision. If we believe in his ability to provide, we can wait for the gift instead of unwrapping the present early.
“But You Said,” strategy is the clear strategy for success. God’s promises are not like ours. There is no question mark after them. There is an exclamation point! There is no maybe. If he said it, it will be!
Get into God’s word and let him speak promises to your heart, promises you can depend on that will never leave you unsatisfied.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on your request until you find yourself lost amidst his faithfulness. Don’t be too proud to humble yourself and persistently fall before the throne of grace, begging and pleading with the power of his word and the blood of Jesus. Understand that his promises will be released according to His timetable and your faith and because of His love for His children.
Let this promise start your prayer today.
So says the Lord,
“At the time I have decided,
my words will come true.
You can trust what I say about the future.
It may take long—
But keep on waiting.
It will happen.”
Habakkuk 2:3 (Contemporary English Version)
Your future is in His word!
Find it and fight for it in prayer!
What are some times in your life when you realized that you need a strategy change?