I am interested in the psychology of prayer. By that I don't mean what the psychologists who want to deconstruct it mean. This will be an in-house discussion. What fascinates is that we Christians are capable of some pretty strange abstract thinking that doesn't comport well with Jesus' urging to be "like children." The Lord says when we come to Him we should come "without wavering" (Hebrews 4:16; 10:23; Psalm 26:1).
What would "without wavering" look like? I know full well what "wavering" looks like:
Maybe God is ticked off with me.
Maybe God won't answer because of what I did last night.
Maybe I'm not forgiven.
Maybe the request I am making is the kind of thing God doesn't do anymore.
Maybe that promise I thought I saw in the Bible pertains to the distant future only.
Maybe that miracle was only for the time of Christ.
Maybe that verse that looks like a promise is not really a promise but a principle.
Maybe I'm taking that promise out of context.
Maybe my request is too petty.
Maybe I'm not asking according to His will.
Entertain clutter like this in your head and your hole-riddled bucket will have leaked out all its boldness by the time you get to the throne of grace. I sometimes must do a fair amount of deprogramming before I can move into the zone of "confidence," "boldness," and "unwavering" in the courts of the Lord:
Ticked off?-I choose to believe the Lord's declaration over my own feelings: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). "Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart" (1 John 3:20).
Because of what I did last night?-So how long will I wait till I come crawling back? Is it my plan to let God cool off while I keep my distance? Something fishy about that.
Maybe I'm not forgiven?-Ephesians 1 says I am. Is the blood of Christ a common thing? Have I finally committed the one sin He can't handle? Do I spurn the Son of God and trample the blood of the covenant underfoot, outraging the Holy Spirit? (Hebrews 10:29). Will I not dare to live as a forgiven woman? Will I not take sides with Christ against my own self-assessment?
God doesn't take those kinds of prayer requests anymore?-Says who? Who made you God's press secretary, O man? God will answer any kind of prayer He sees fit to, and since He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I can go ahead and ask. Not to mention that Jesus is now ascended to an exalted place with all power and authority for the church (Ephesians 1:22).
That promise isn't really a promise?-Again, says who? If God claims, "No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11), and a human book claims different, there is no contest of authority.
A mistake not to read in context?-I'll tell you what's a mistake: to whittle the Word of God down to nothing by multiplying contexts and disclaimers, and thus robbing the hope of the believer.
Too petty a request?-Let the Lord be the judge of that. He says cast all your anxieties on Me because I care for you (1 Peter 5:7). He says make your requests, with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). He welcomes all kinds of prayers (Ephesians 6:18). He says we do not have because we do not ask.
Not according to His will?-I know it is not His will that any should perish but all should come to the knowledge of God, so I will hit that one hard. I will recite it back to Him. I will pray pre-envisioning my children's salvation. I know it is His will to undo the works of the devil, of whatever variety they are (1 John 3:8). Furthermore, I know I am in His will because I abide in Him.
I don't believe the Lord will "drop" a single prayer request but will answer it in some way, in His timing. I don't believe the martyrs believe that either (Revelation 6:10). If I am wrong about any of this, you can go back to wavering.