Gospel Gab: God is not a vending machine

Ava Hicks, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: Ava Hicks is a junior at UNCW studying Communications with a minor in Journalism. Ava also serves as a staff writer for The Seahawk and a regular columnist for Gospel Gab. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to sld9240@uncw.edu.

A very wise man that I know has a saying that claims we “shouldn’t use God like a vending machine.” It sounds rather funny at first, but when you really think about it he is spot on.

I am so guilty of using prayer to express solely my wants and desires to the Lord. I know He is always listening and He truly does answer prayers, it is so easy to inadvertently recite a list of things that I want Him to take care of for me.

While it is certainly fine to ask God for our heart’s desires, it is so important that we keep in mind who we are speaking to.

When we pray, we are engaging in intimate, one-on-one contact with the Creator of the Universe. He crafted each one of us out of nothing and made everything as it is today. To be able to actually communicate with Him is an extraordinary privilege and should not be taken for granted.

Therefore, we should not spend all of our prayer time focused on things of this world – that defeats the whole purpose and is such a waste of the gift that prayer is. We have the ability to pray for so many wonderful people and things, yet we so often ask for material items or for a circumstance to adjust to our desires.

There is something called the ACTS prayer model that is basically a method by which to engage in meaningful prayer. Though prayer should not always be structured and rather an emotional and genuine conversation, the model lays out an effective way to balance the content of your prayers.

ACTS stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. This method suggests that your prayer time can be deepened by focusing on these four things – expressing your adoration for the Lord, confessing your sins and struggles, thanking the Lord for all that He does and asking for some sort of change or action in your life.

Try this strategy out next time you talk to the Lord and see how it feels. There is absolutely no pressure to do anything in particular when engaged in prayer, but sometimes a new approach can strengthen your relationship with the Lord.

Avoid the “vending machine” attitude with your supplication. This can be dangerous and actually lead to a negative mindset. Not because God does not care or He does not want to hear your troubles. He already knows everything you are going through and has a purpose for our circumstances. Pour out our heart and soul to the Lord, because doing so relieves such a burden and is a reminder that we are in good hands.

Continue to ask for help and guidance in navigating this difficult world. Do not cease your supplication. But remember to give thanks and acknowledge all that the Lord has done and continues to do for His children. Prayer may be a conversation, but it is also a means of praise and worship. Take advantage of the most direct route to the Creator to do what we were created to do – lift up His name and sing His praise.