Asking for Stones, but Receiving Bread: A Lesson in Praying for God’s Will

woman praying with open hands over Bible in her lap

It was a simple, normal prayer: God, provide me with a new job. But then, I added to it.

God, provide me with a new job in Nashville. God, provide me with a new ministry or communications job in Nashville.

While my well-intentioned prayers were in the scope of what I felt God was calling me to, not all my additions were a part of His plan.

And the more I prayed with these additions and saw my prayers go unanswered, the more distraught I became.

It became evident to me that my plans for my new season of life were not in line with His when I dug into Scripture and realized what I was praying for and what God was giving me were two different things. But the best part was what God wanted to give me and ultimately gave me was so much better.

Matthew 7:9–11 says, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

I was asking for stones. God wanted to give me bread. As I read through these verses, I understood that what I thought was bread—what I thought would satisfy and bring God the most glory—was not. In truth, I was praying for stones, and God still wanted to give me bread.

Once I read Scripture and let the Holy Spirit speak truth to me, I realized God’s will for my job search was to glorify Him, not get the job I thought I wanted.

So I changed my prayer (those pesky additions excluded) and opened my heart to the possibility of a different type of job. I remembered why I wanted to come home—to minister to my family, my friends, and new coworkers—even if ministry or missions weren’t a part of my job title.

When we pray God’s will, there is a peace and trust that whatever we’re facing will turn out as He intends. When we aren’t praying in God’s will, there is confusion and chaos. But no matter how we pray, God is the good Father who will always give us the bread we need, even when His children ask for stones.

Emily Todd* is a former cross-cultural worker who served among university students in South Asia. Currently, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and works as an administrative assistant.

*Name changed.


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