David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 2 Samuel 12:16
The temptation to beg God to answer our prayer can be irresistible when we go through hardships. Depending on the severity of our circumstances, we may feel compelled to beg God so He can move quicker on our behalf. The desire to beg God in prayer can be more compelling for those who feel undeserving because of the mistakes they’ve made. Indeed, sin can overwhelm us with guilt and leave us feeling ashamed to present our petitions before our Lord. This sense of shame can give us the misimpression we have to beg the Almighty so He can answer our prayer.
That is precisely the predicament of David. Because of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, and his complicit murder of Uriah, David’s son with Bathsheba was afflicted with a deadly illness. Since David had been living in sinful disobedience to God for about a year, he forgot how to make effectual intercession for his son. Instead, David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. Yet the child died because God was not moved by his begging.
David begged God when he should have bowed to bless the name of the Lord. God does not need us to beg Him when we pray. Less we forget, our sins of the past, present, and future have been forgiven through Christ Jesus at Calvary. God had already forgiven David and said that he would not die. Nevertheless, God was not going to give David immunity from the consequences of his actions.
David should have bowed before the Holy God and say “let thy will be done.” He begged God because he doubted that God would answer his petition. But as believers we know Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding for us. We do not have to doubt that God will answer our prayer. Therefore, there is no need to beg Him. Instead, we should bow in worship as we surrender to His will. After all, God invites us to come boldly before His throne of grace, that we can obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
The apostle Paul exhorts us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds so we may discern the will of God, and know what is good and acceptable and perfect. In doing so, we will not need to beg God to answer our prayer because He will delight in our petitions. The spirit of begging is an anti-Christ spirit that thinks it can manipulate the Almighty to do what He does not want to do. It is a spirit of deception seeking to turn prayer from a spiritual conversation into a personal transaction.
In Romans 8:15, Paul reminds us we did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Indeed, we do not have to be afraid to let our Father in Heaven know what we need. Notwithstanding the mistakes we’ve made, we have unfettered access to God’s throne of grace through Christ Jesus.
If we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we won’t have to beg God to answer our prayer. The Holy Spirit will help us find the correct words to say when presenting our petitions, and He will intercede for us so we can get an answer from God. It may not be the answer we want, but it will certainly be the answer that is best for us.
Questions for personal reflection
Do you know when you are begging instead of praying?
Why is begging harmful to your prayer life?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please teach me to be mindful not to beg when I pray. I confess that I often try to manipulate you by begging instead of presenting my request before you with the faith that you will hear and answer my prayer. Please help me to rebuke the spirit of begging when I am desperate to be heard by you. Remind me of the promises of Philippians 4:19, when guilt and shame try to turn me into a beggar instead of a son of the Most High God.