Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark:11:22). Does that mean that the God revealed in the Bible exists as our servant to give us what we want? On the contrary, He is not a cosmic bellhop or a genie in a bottle to grant wishes upon demand, though that is the only god in whom many are willing to believe. Faith is not a force we aim at God to get Him to bend to our will and cater to our wants. According to Jesus, the object of faith must be the one true God and His truth. Prayer is petitioning God and must therefore be subject to His will, or else it would be rebellion.
Faith is not managing to believe that somehow one’s prayer will be answered. That would be mind power. Faith is believing that God will grant one’s request. That fact changes everything. What we are praying for may not be God’s will, God’s way, or in God’s time. There is a huge difference between trying to influence God to grant what we desire and trusting Him to give us what He knows we need. Scripture declares: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James:4:3).
The implication is that God refuses to grant requests for self-gratification. Prayer is not a technique for getting one’s own way. Rather it is an appeal to the Creator who is still in charge of His universe. But can’t He be persuaded? God does reward earnestness. We are told to persist in prayer, no doubt to develop our character rather than to persuade Him. Would we really want to persuade God to bend His will to ours? It is right here that much misunderstanding about prayer causes so many to be disappointed or even disillusioned.