I’m a snake handler of sorts.
Snakes fascinate me. I’ve never been afraid of any snake as long as I see it first, but my wife is terrified of all snakes. She was once sitting on our front porch when I brought her a black snake I found lying in our back yard. Her high pitched screams, horrified expression and stern words convinced me it wasn’t a good present.
Jesus mentioned snakes when teaching about prayer. We should ask, seek and knock because our heavenly Father wants to give us our heart’s desires and will when they’re in his will. But what father if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake? (Matthew 7:10) Sometimes we pray for snakes, and when we do God doesn’t grant our requests.
Snakes are things outside God’s will for our life. While on his second missionary journey, Paul experienced two occasions when God’s Spirit forbade him to go into regions he wanted to visit (Acts 16). His desire wasn’t sinful; it just wasn’t God’s plan for him to head in that direction.
Snakes are any attitudes, actions and thoughts outside God’s will. Praying with ulterior motives and sinful attitudes or acting in ungodly ways places us in the company of poisonous snakes and we’ll be bitten by God’s discipline.
Snakes are also things outside God’s timing. David’s prayer asking God to let him construct a temple wasn’t sinful; it just wasn’t the right time. He was a warrior (I Chronicles 17). Temple building was for peace time and would happen while his son Solomon reigned.
Learn to know God’s mind better through spiritual disciplines, and when you do you’ll be less likely to pray for snakes.
Prayer: Father in heaven, teach us to ask for fish instead of snakes.
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