Reluctance vs. Willingness


“You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” -- Matthew 21:22


Phillips Brooks once said, “Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance but taking hold of God’s willingness.”

Being a career-long fundraiser, I know a thing or two about conquering someone’s reluctance. It’s natural for us fundraisers to assume that even someone we label as a “potential donor” has some hesitance (or maybe heaps of hesitance), and we begin to feel like we have to really woo them in order to get a contribution. We cast out our fundraising nets hoping we’ll catch a donation or two and feel relieved at any gift, even if we believe both the ask and the gift could have meant so much more. We operate at times out of fear—fear of being rejected or fear of offending. All too often, that fear drives us to not ask or ask in a very awkward way.

The same goes for competitors on the field or court. Oftentimes, we’re afraid of missing the shot or dropping the ball, so we compromise in ways that stunt or true potential.

But here’s the good news: we are never rejected and always welcomed by our gracious and loving God. Our Father is a giving God. He desires to give you what is in your heart. He wants to answer your prayers that are aligned with His will and according to His purposes.

So, don’t go to God timidly as you compete today. Go to Him boldly!

  • How does a timid prayer to a seeming reluctant God sound different from a bold prayer to a generous and willing God?
  • Why might a willing and loving God still say no to your bold prayer?
  • How can you align your prayer to the will of the willing Father?

Matthew 7:7-11; 1 John 5:14-15; John 14:13-14


“Lord, You are a God who makes and keeps His promises. You’ve told us to pray boldly to You. Help us center our asks around Your will and purposes in our lives, in our work, in our ministries and for those around us.”

Bible Reference: 
Matthew 21:22
Matthew 7:7-11
1 John 5:14-15
John 14:13-14