If I am praying asking God for one thing and something different happens, I find it is best (for myself) to respond to what IS happening. Perhaps God sees something I don’t see (of course He does), or perhaps He has another plan in mind, or maybe He wants to do a special work in me.
For instance, when I moved back here to Santa Rosa County to plant PCC, I always believed that I would reach dozens of my old friends from High School. I even prayed to that end. I asked God to bless those efforts and He has. Many people from my past attend PCC and my heart is overfilled with joy because of it. But God also began to send other sorts of people to PCC that I wasn't specifically asking for – strangers, different ethnicities, people from other countries, and hundreds from out of state. When this began to happen I had these options:
- I could “keep on praying” about what I wanted
- I could get frustrated (angry) and quit
- I could open my eyes to what WAS HAPPENING as a result of my prayers and begin responding to it.
I chose option three. I adjusted my ambitions and expectations to God’s will. I adjusted my life to what God was doing around me. We began embracing the people God was sending us. I shudder to think of the opportunity I would have missed if I had been too hard headed or stubborn to follow God’s leading.
This principle has guided me my entire Christian life – everything from job searches, where to live, when to move, who to see, how to react, etc. It has served me well.
Maybe you are praying for a situation. The good news is God is concerned about your plight and the need you have. Keep praying about it. Who knows, He might answer it just the way you are asking for. He usually does. But if something different begins happening, adjust yourself to what God is doing. His perspective is bigger than yours and you’ll be in a much better place if you do.
He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)