Demandingness in Action

We want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up. Daniel 3:18

How does demandingness manifest itself? One way is by an insistence that God answer our prayers in the way we think He should. I talked with a woman whose husband had abandoned her and their three small children. As she talked, I grew uncomfortable, for she told me: “I know God is going to bring him back. If He doesn’t, then He is not as faithful as He says He is. That can’t be, so my husband will come back.”

Can you hear the spirit of demandingness in these words? I sympathized with her hurt to such a degree that it was painful for me to have to explain this: that faith is one thing but demandingness is another. Her “faith” in God was based not on unconditional confidence in His character and sovereign purposes, but rather in the hope that He would relieve her suffering in the way she thought best.

Deep hurt is a most suitable environment in which we can wrongfully nourish a demanding spirit. Nothing convinces us more that God must answer our prayers in the way we think He should than when we are experiencing continued heartache. And the line between legitimate desiring and illegitimate demanding is a thin one which is easily crossed.

How can we be sure our desiring does not turn into demanding? When we are willing to say: “If God does not grant what I desire, then I can still go on because I know that He will never abandon me, and in His love I have all the strength I need to handle whatever comes.”


O God, save me from an insistent and demanding spirit. You who are always reaching out to me in love and awakening me, help me to recognize the difference between a desire and a demand. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 26:36-46; Ps 40:8; Eph 6:6; Php 1:1

How did Jesus express desire without demandingness?

How did Paul express it?

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