"Truth is truth." I like that. I know from experience that prayer moves us to the place we need to be to receive an answer from God. Prayer works, if you are a prayer. How many prayers will pass before I am healed? Five less now.
I ran into a prayer tonight at the Douglasville Mall. I don't mean the abstract spoken thing, but a concrete person who prays literally... a pray-er. And pray he did, four times before we were through. I have met him on another occasion there in the mall. Apparently, he makes it his habit to pray for others. I wrote about my first prayer with Zack in a previous blog titled His Father's Eyes. I have a recorded clip from a question I asked Zack here below for you to hear yourself. Just click the mic to listen. (A new window will pop up with a Quicktime Player and the sound will begin.)
Mark 16:15-20 And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
This passage that Zack mentioned is part of the great commission. It's actually Jesus' last words here on Earth. How important do you think these words might be? Zack said at one point that he believes what happens is that sometimes people have prayed, didn't get the answer they expected, and then begin to rationalize as a part of human nature, telling others that God might not want to heal them. So we have heard so much doubt that our human nature basically sabotages our faith.
"Truth is truth." I like that. I know from experience that prayer moves us to the place we need to be to receive an answer from God. Prayer works, if you are a prayer. How many prayers will pass before I am healed? Five less now.
The story behind the four women who were at the foot of the cross as Jesus died, in it's beautiful correlation to Mothers everywhere is told as a prequel to "Mother's Day."
Tonight's Podcast and more notes and info about the Four Women Beneath the Cross is available at: http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ or, you can listen on the player below.
"...and God bless Mamma, and God bless Uncle Roy, and God bless Tammy and Angie, and my friend Lisa. And God bless by teacher, and God bless all my cousins... and God bless everybody in the whole wide world, Amen." Remember saying your bedtime prayers as a child? Or, with your children? I can remember both. My husband and I were talking about children praying for people today, and the fact that some of the prayers they say for people can be so sweet. He was repeating one such prayer he had heard a child pray for me. They grasp so easily the idea that they shouldn't leave anybody out of their conversation with the Almighty. Afterall, if you have an audience with God, make the best use of it. And, they believe God is listening.
I can remember laying my children's tiny hands on my head as we prayed, and having them pray for me, as a blackmail tactic of sorts. :) Surely, God would listen to the prayers of a little child, if not mine. That is really not necessary. It is not a question of how deserving you are of God's answer, but whether or not you have His attention. Remember the woman who wanted healing and asked just for the crumbs under the table like a dog? Mark 7:28 We have it backwards it seems. We heard Jesus say He loved children (Luke 18:27) and that He listens when children come to Him, but we didn't understand that we can go to Him just like that little child. This is the essence of being born again, allowing ourselves to be placed in a whole new relationship to God.
He hears our prayers alright, ours and theirs. Just like our hearts melt when a child prays, it's all the same to Him if you speak His name.
Just what do you think you are doing?! "Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow" Mark 4:3 Notice the first two words Jesus said here were listen and look? This was the final year of His life. He was almost 33. He was facing the fact that his mission was nearing its end, and some of the seed he had planted was unfruitful.But, He had gone out to sow. The reaction of the unbelieving did not matter. He had accomplished what He set out to do, regardless of the response. I think that epitomizes a mission. You can't judge yourself on the percentage that you reach. It's not about numbers, but about total commitment. Have you gone out to sow?
Children are in a unique location, much like film still in a 35 mm camera. Everything you do and say leaves it's imprint, and you never know how it will turn out. "...there went out a sower to sow:" Mark 4:3 I took up the bag of teaching and began to sow seeds when I was young. Children are undeveloped potential like a garden. It has been said that a child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. ~Author Unknown Many students have taught me much. I have students who are still very young, and I will refrain from mentioning you here, as that is not wise. I will concentrate on students who are now adults. But, you others know who you are, and that I am thankful to have had the chance to be your teacher. Yes, I mean YOU. Of course, who else would I be referring to sweetheart?! :)
I would like to give thanks to the following students who taught me in return.
1)Carmen Michelle Marshall- Let's start with you. That's right, I did. :) You were my first lesson in teaching. I had my lesson all prepared. But, you were the youngest and when I began teaching the story, you listened for 15 seconds. Then you politely walked away to something else. I had used up all your patience and that was a shock to me. I learned quickly that it took more than a prepared lesson to actually teach. I had to earn your attention. That was valuable. I learned to build a boat and get you inside it to tell the story of Noah. I learned to involve you in the stories. Even though older children are more sophisticated at the appearance of listening, and may not walk away, I learned that I had not really taught if you did not learn. Thanks for the on the job training in how to make a lesson worth your while.
2)Angela Mong Yeats- Angela, from you I learned to love my students. You were such a
sweetheart and I realized with you that many children will learn better if they feel like you love them. You were my first lesson in emotional investment in a child. Thanks for investing in me.
3)Serena Godoy (Yodog)- You taught me about family Serena. You were all about your younger brother and sisters. I learned that if they were taken care of, you were "good to go." You have the heart of a Mother. Thanks for teaching me Miss. Serenity! I hope you
find your treasure in the house of the King.
4)Ralph Angel Silvera- Wow what a singing voice! My favorite is "Shackles," the Mary Mary routine. I do wish I could see you and your little brother do that just one more time. I would love to see it if you have it recorded anywhere. You have such a spirit of respect and a beautiful smile. I am so glad you taught me about friendliness. That is a prize ingredient in any life. Thanks Ralph!
5)Deanna Clark- You were already a mature young lady by the time I taught you Deanna. Or maybe you were always grown. Either way, I never heard you say an unkind word. Thanks for being sweet and for being fun to travel with. You worked so hard in Quizzing.
6)William Birkett- You were a wonderful child to know. It was probably more difficult for you doing pencil and paper work because you were an active person, and loved the hands on experiments. But, what I remember most is the poem you wrote me. I remember too that you published another poem over at the Middle School. I hope that you have continued to write William. I feel like I "discovered" you. Lucky me!
7)Belen- You were an awesome student Belen. Thanks for being always willing to help, ready to volunteer for anything, and inquisitive in every subject. I never had to work for your attention. You were such a delight to teach that I felt like I was stealing my paycheck. I would gladly have a million more students like you 100 at a time!
8)Diana- I have your picture here on a shelf. You were an angel and a pleasure to teach. You were an ace in Math and could do anything well. You taught me that I had many
able bodied assistants who were capable of carrying out whatever I needed done.
Thanks for all your hardwork.
9)Larry- I never did that experiment again because you will forever be etched in my mind from that one time. LOL. I still have the video though. And, I still laugh so hard I cry when I watch it. You taught me that children would do anything for the sake of Science.
:) I didn't realize that you were so scared about volunteering because you looked so brave. I only realized afterwards that it was a courageous front. You taught me that the toughest looking guys were really big teddybears. Thanks for being brave enough to step forward to try what you thought was dangerous. I loved all the fun we had that year. You were a big part of the fun.
10)Stacy Newton- I thank the good Lord for giving me you. You stole my heart. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your life. You showed me the power of love. You taught me the indestructableness of the human spirit. Maybe our paths will cross again one day Stacy. You are my hero.
What could I say more. I could speak of Estrella, Phi, Tam, Darletha, Andre, Keenen, Gina, Khadijatu, and Diamond. But, many are the steps I have taken down the one path of being a student of children. You are my heritage because everything that I have, you gave. I invested my time in you and I have reaped the dividends in memories and treasure. May God bless each of you in your pursuits in this life and tenfold in the next.
Song of Solomon 8:13 You that dwell in the gardens, the companions listen
for your voice: let me hear it.
Who is this that hangs out in the gardens?
Mark 14:32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he
said to his disciples, Sit here, while I shall pray.
Who is it that is listening for His voice?
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Can we hear His voice?
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:
and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased; hear you him.
Do we really want to listen in on this conversation?
Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are
you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with? They said unto him, We are able.
The garden speaks of communion, fellowship with Christ. But, to have fellowship with Jesus means that we partake of His cup.
What will you make of this?
God knows exactly what he is doing with your circumstances. When things are happening, that's a sure sign God is working in your life. Remember how Paul felt in prison? Yes, he had visitors, but he sent them out to preach the gospel, not being satisfied with his own quota of words spoken for Jesus' account. Apparantly, he couldn't say enough to satisfy the fire shut up in his bones. Jeremiah 20:9
The aged Paul was incarcerated, yet carried on a ministry from prison. 2 Timothy 4:10:17 He had Demas, Crescens, Titus, and Tychicus, all young ministers responsible to him, stationed at different communities nearby, spreading the gospel. He appeard to be very lonely, as anyone would be sitting in a nasty jail cell. And only Dr. Luke was in town with him at that point. He would have probably sent him out preaching if he hadn't needed a doctor for his frequent ailments. (And, Luke did often preach... an evangelist.)
But, more than Paul's lonliness comes out in this little passage. The Coppersmith, along with the other craftsmen, were the ones who stood in court against Paul, since he was bad for business. Much of their craft was in the production of idols, and Paul revealed the ignorance of worshipping idols in his sermons, thereby cutting demand. It seems that the would-be witnesses for the defense were in short supply as Paul stood trial and gave his answer. But, notice he listed the Lord as the only witness who stood up with him, giving him strength to reveal the Gospel on trial.
It was getting cold weather, and Paul was often cold at night, to have thought about the cloak he had left at Troas the previous Spring. You can almost hear the sweet fatherly pleading in Paul's voice for his "son-in-the-gospel" Timothy to bring him his cloak and his books. He missed having those books, and especially the nice parchments. How nice it would be to have something to read here in this dark cell all alone. The Bible parchments would be wonderful!
Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:9 that though he was locked up, the word of God was not locked up with him. Psalm 147:15 God's Words can run from a cold, lonely prison cell, and reach the corners of the earth. When you face trials and struggles, remember the purpose of God behind your suffering. Jeremiah reminds you that God has been thinking about you, and He's got a plan... Jeremiah 29:11
But, the biggest gem here in Paul's plea is that he asked for Mark to be brought into his service of the gospel; John Mark, who apparantly ran away naked the night Jesus was arrested. (The soldiers tried to arrest Mark too, but he ran so fast he slipped out of his robe the soldier had grabbed.) Mark 14:51-52 Mark had also gone with Paul and Barnabas on their first Missionary journey, but turned back when they reached the mainland, for what reason we can only imagine. (It may have had something to do with the stoning and beatings Paul so often received by people who heard him preach, or maybe the "wild beasts" they encountered.) We do know that Paul was angry about Mark deserting the field, and later when Barnabus wanted to take the repentant Mark on the second journey with them, Paul and Barnabas came to a head about the matter. Both men stubbornly refused to give in, so Barnabas took Mark and went one way, and Paul took Silas and went another, splitting the field in half, doubling the path of God's word. My how the Gospel runs! Imagine how God can take even our petty squabbles and multiply the Gospel through them.
But, here Paul the prisoner has reached the point of forgiveness and called for Mark to come to him. What changed his mind? Why did he decide Mark would now be profitable for the Gospel? Mark had worked in later years as an assistant for Peter, and had transcribed the book of Mark from not only his firsthand memories, but from what Peter told him, during their later work together. Since Paul and Peter's imprisonment was closely concurrent, Paul would have known about the work Mark did for first Barnabas, and later with Peter. And, I imagine he had a lot of time to think about Mark, all alone there in that cell. Paul suffered greatly, but performed a great ministry for the Lord. His work and words have multiplied throughout the world. We have two-thirds of the New Testament from his pen. We also have most of our procedures for church government, family relationships, and personal conduct from his writings. History records that when Paul was finally condemned to death, and was led across the field to the chopping block on the Ostesian Road, he broke into a run, laying his head down readily for the blade. It seems he had somewhere to go in a hurry.
Jesus was a Jewish man. We know that He attended Jewish services on the Sabbath throughout His life, because such was the custom of His parents and Himself in adulthood. The rabbi was a Jewish version of a Sunday School teacher, considering that the service consisted of reading and teaching the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. Jewish Rabbis are known to use the quesioning method (Socratic method) in teaching. Jesus must have paid attention well in the Synagogue / temple.
I have listed below the questions Jesus asked different people (as recorded in the Bible;) disciples, strangers,
Pharisees, even His heavenly Father from the cross. These can be broken into categorical types of questions. Most of His questions were simply rhetorical; as He was not expecting an answer, and was merely asking the question to make them think and understand His principles. I have not marked the 24 that seem to be rhetorical teaching questions.
But, sometimes, He asked a simple question first, then waited for the easy answer, then used that answer to illustrate a greater principle, as with an object lesson. I have marked those questions blue as indicated. The last three questions (44, 45, 46) are special examples of this where the disciple being questioned didn't provide the expected answer, seeming to yet be confused. All three are often the topics of sermons in every church. (I think they are special because Jesus appears to not be sure of the answer Himself, as with the green questions in the next category. I will explain why I feel this way after the last question in the list.)
The third category is the group of questions where Jesus asked because He actually wanted an answer, because He wanted information to act on Himself. These are the ones I have marked green.
The last group is questions shouted or groaned in anger and frustration (like when a Mother shouts, "Little Johnny, what do you think you are doing to that cat?") These I've marked red. Also notice the fact that all four gospel writers remembered Jesus' habit of asking so many questions. I will quote Jesus' questions exactly, because it is not easy to paraphrase God.
1. Matthew 6:23 But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of
darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that
2. Matthew 6:28-30 And why take you thought for clothing? Consider the lilies
of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say
unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Therefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow
is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
3. Matthew 7:3-4 And why behold you the speck that is in your brother's eye,
but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your
brother, Let me pull the speck out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your
4.Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him?
5. Matthew 8:26 Why are you fearful, O you of little
faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great
6. Matthew 11:7-9 What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed
shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft
clothes? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what
went you out to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
7. Matthew 12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Therefore it is
lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
8. Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good
things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
9. Matthew 15:34 And Jesus said unto them, How many loaves have you? And they
said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
10. Matthew 16:9 Do you not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves
of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
11. Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
12. Matthew 17:17 O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?
how long shall I endure you? bring him here to me.
13. Matthew 17:25 What think you, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth
take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
14. Matthew 19:17 Why do you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:
but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
15. Matthew 20:21 And he said unto her, What will you? She said unto him,
Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other
on the left, in your kingdom.
16. Matthew 20:32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will
you that I shall do unto you?
17. Matthew 21:25 The baptism of John, from where was it? from heaven, or of
men? And they reasoned among themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven;
he will say unto us, Why did you not then believe him?
18. Matthew 21:28-31 But what think you? A certain man had two sons; and he
came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and
said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the
second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Which of the two did the will of his father? They said unto him, The first.
Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the tax collectors and the
harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
19. Matthew 22:18-20 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why test
me, you hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a
penny. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
20. Matthew 22:42 Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They said
unto him, The son of David.
21. Matthew 23:33 You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape
the judgment of hell?
22. Matthew 26:10 Why trouble you the woman? for she has worked a good work unto me.
23. Matthew 26:40 What, could you not watch with me one hour?
24. Mark 2:8 Why reason you these things in your hearts?
25. Mark 3:23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How
can Satan cast out Satan?
26. Mark 5:9 And he asked him, What is your name? And he answered, saying, My
name is Legion: for we are many.
27. Mark 5:39 Why make you this commotion, and weep? the child is not dead, but sleeps.
28. Mark 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, Why does this
generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be
given unto this generation.
29. Mark 9:21 And he asked his father, How long ago is it since this came unto
him? And he said, Since childhood.
30. Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them,
What was it that you disputed among yourselves on the way?
31. Mark 10:3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
32. Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?
33. Luke 6:46 And why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
34. Luke 12:56 You hypocrites, you can discern the appearance of the sky and
of the earth; but how is it that you do not discern this time?
35. John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how
shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
36. John 5:44 How can you believe, who receive honor one of another, and seek
not the honor that comes from God only?
37. John 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he
said unto them, Does this offend you?
38. John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the
law? Why go you about to kill me?
39. John 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do
you not believe me?
40. John 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me
from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
41. John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments,
and was seated again, he said unto them, Know you what I have done to you?
42. John 14:9 Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long a time with you, and
yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and
how say you then, Show us the Father?
43. John 18:23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the
evil: but if well, why strike me?
44. John 20:15 Jesus said unto her, Woman, why do you weep? whom do you seek?
She, supposing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if you have borne him
away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
45. John 21:17 He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you
love me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Do you love
me? And he said unto him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.
Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.
46. Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him,
Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?
Now that you see them all, look at the last three questions, the ones I pointed out as special. In John 20:15, the man Jesus seems to really want to know who she is looking for in a graveyard. He seems to marvel that she didn't expect to find Him risen. But, seeing her sorrow, and feeling her grief, He simply calls her name, trying to make her see that it is Him.
In John 21:17 the man in Christ again seems to want to be assured in His own beating heart that Peter really loves Him. He sees Peter dripping wet, and feels the love of Peter's deed, and enjoys this sign of affection. But, He needs more from Peter. He needs more than an act of affection. He needs an act of service. Compare the love of a man who would "swim the deepest ocean" for his wife to the love of a husband who would get up every morning for forty years and go to work.
Then, in Acts 9:4, can't you just hear the pain of a friend asking Saul, "Why are you doing this to me? Don't you realize what you are doing to me, man?!" Why did Jesus take time to stop Saul/Paul in his tracks, literally knocking him off his feet? It is because He knew Saul loved Him and was trying to serve Him, although it was in error and misguided love. He seems to really want to know why Paul is picking on Him.
Jesus was both God and man. Nowhere is the dual nature of Jesus Christ so evident as in His questioning. You see the knowledge of God within Him, and you see the wants and needs of a man in flesh and blood. Imagine! Here we have firsthand words of Jesus. This source gives credible witness of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
We have a prayer list, whether on paper in our pocket, or tucked in our head for the next traffic light. Remember the honeysuckles? I spoke of them and the fact that I had never prayed for them and that some things we never expect. It is a sad footnote that the things we pray for are often in a limited set. Let's call the things we often pray for, Set P, in the mathematical sense of course. Let's call the things God gives us, Set G. G for Grace of course. Grace is such a broad term that you may have a hard time putting your finger on it, but it can be simply stated as God's favor and compassion; kindness. We translate that as gifts in our own heads of course. But that's ok with God, I am sure. He never complains does He? But, our source of frustration can usually be found in a venn diagram as I've illustrated below.
John 1:3-4 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
We have also spoken of light...and darkness. There are two sides to the battle between light and darkness... before and after the cross. We think of grace as including what God did for us at and since the cross, to save us, because we are saved by grace. But, grace is more than the crosswork of Jesus. Grace began at creation. Through the creative work of God, we are all given life, and sunshine, and a world to enjoy, which is considered common grace, or things provided to us through God's general providence. These are the things we are reminded to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day...common grace. We usually think of redemptive grace during the ceremony of communion, or at the altar. (Incidentally, if you do not believe in creation, skip redemption; it is a package deal. God can not redeeem what was not His to start with, can He? Redeeming is "buying back" what you've lost. We sold ourselves out in the Garden as a race, and individually since birth.)
What is in Set G above? All of nature belongs inside of Grace. Nature is God's grace. The same mind that worked out our salvation for us has been working for us throughout the ages, and heaping lovingkindness on us.
All nature is one big gift of God's providence. The sweet scent of the flowers, the breath of air from the trees, the mountains for climbing and viewing, the beauty and comfort we receive wrapped in the arms of nature are all part of the goodness of God. God gives us this Earth, the sun and stars, to enjoy and to live our life to the fullest. This can be expanded to include all material goods, God and man made. Redemption belongs in Set G. Redemption is given to us to draw us in love to the Savior. With salvation it is made possible for us to experience oneness with the God of the universe, an experience of connection on which all happiness can be built. So, God has given us the world, and He has given us Himself. How much can be left in Set P, that is not part of Set G? Really it only amounts to the particulars. Remember that I said before that I prayed for babies with big brown eyes? That is an example of a particular. What I really wanted to have was people to love and take care of, and to teach and give something of myself. I saw that as obtainable when my baby sister would come get in the bed with me sometimes, and she loved me because I did all of those things for her. She would talk and talk while I tried to stay awake, and I would lay there silently looking into her big brown eyes. So, that is the source of that prayer. God's grace included that this desire I had would be met in this way. And, He threw in the brown eyes for good measure. I guess He knew I would be thankful. He could have chosen to give me what I wanted in a different way. But, I often find that God has included "surprise" gifts in Set G, for which I never asked. Only when we can reach into the larger set can we find all that God has in store for us.
There have been times that I would allow my children to have something, which was not quite as much as they had hoped for; maybe less money, less time, or less things. Or perhaps it was more; more chores or rules than they had hoped at the moment. Sometimes they would seem upset about this arrangement. My answer was usually, "I agreed to this to please you. If you are not pleased with this, then I won't give this either, since that is not going to give me the pleasure of making you happy." Invariably, they suddenly became pleased instantly with what I had agreed. Sadly, even though God has given us much, just like children, we can become discontent and withhold praise that God is due for His greater grace, because of what it does not include.
There is no such thing as Plan B with God. He does have a plan, which he has been working since creation. Those things that seem wrong in your life, those things that are missing in Set P above; those all can be found in the outer part of Set G since they figure into God's grace. This is why God told Apostle Paul that His grace was enough. He did not mean that what He had given was all Paul was getting, in a limiting sense. He meant that Paul needed to reach into the outer part of set G and find what matched this need. Paul was asking for something outside of God's plan, from the outer part of Set P. It is not wrong to ask in prayer many times for things that are on your heart. The point is that continual prayer on a topic will change you. It will change you to the point that you can reach what you are praying for, or to the point that you understand God's grace for your need. All efforts to reach for God are God-inspired and are pleasing to Him. Afterall, no one is motivated to pray for anything by Satan. Satan doesn't want us to pray. God is honored that we bring Him our deepest desires, no matter where they are in the Venn Diagram. Let Him work out what is sufficient for you. If you never ask, you are not giving Him a chance to love you.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
This verse says it simply. But, it doesn't mean that you will receive everything for which you pray. It means that you will find the point where God's grace is enough for you. Do the Math!