One of the reasons we are unfruitful in prayer is because we do not rest in our position and calling before God. Rather then embrace who God has made us, seeking to serve him in the capacity he has assigned, we complain about our lot in life. Is it any wonder our prayers go unanswered? God will not grant us our desire when it is contrary to his own. For, you ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passion (James 4:3). When you fight against your calling and place in God’s kingdom you pray amiss.
When you are at rest in your calling you are able to focus your attention on the Lord instead of yourself. To be at rest in your calling means that you think about how to please the Lord in the role he has given you. When you do so, you do not waste time and energy complaining about your life circumstances but work to maximize your abilities for the sake of the kingdom instead. One benefit of a proper attitude about your position and calling is a vibrant prayer life.
Instead of wasting time asking God to provide you with a total makeover, a realistic assessment of your place and calling allows you to participate in the kind of dialogue in prayer every Christian should be striving for. We see an example of this in the exchange between Jesus and the Syrophoenician (Canaanite), woman as recorded in Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30.
In this example, the Canaanite woman asked Jesus to deliver her daughter from demon possession. However, Jesus said, It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs (Matthew 15:26). At this point the woman could have argued with Jesus about the politically incorrect way he referred to her. Yet, it is instructive to us that she accepted her place as a “dog” and built her argument around that very detail. Thus, her reply to Jesus was, Yes it is Lord! The dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table (Matthew 15:27)! This is what the Greek literally says. In other words, she was not agreeing that it isn’t right to feed the children’s food to the dogs. Nor is she disagreeing with Jesus calling her a dog. Instead, she disagreed that the dogs have no share in the kingdom promises. She told Jesus that yes it is right for the dogs to have some of the children’s food because it is the responsibility of the Master to see that all of his followers are fed. She could not have made this insightful argument if she had been hung up on her calling and position in life (one’s calling is different than one’s position in life but it is associated with it).
Glad to see this display of maturity, Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly (Matthew 15:28).
We should not think that Jesus granted her wish reluctantly. The truth is Jesus anticipated her answer. As the master Teacher, Jesus knew that people learn best when they are driven to explain and defend their faith. But, again, the Canaanite woman could not have intelligently explained the reason for her confidence if she had not accepted her place and calling in life