We speak all kinds of prayers to Jesus. Sincere prayers for a sick child, dying parent, or errant spouse. Prayers so sincere that we are convinced God will grant our request. After all we have done the right things: rubbed the magic lamp, click our heels three times, and closed our eyes. How could God deny our request?
James and John approached Jesus and asked Him to do them a favor, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory,” (Mark 10:37). To them it was a reasonable request, for they had been with Jesus from the beginning. How could He deny them? But deny them He did.
The Gospels record that it was two crucified thieves who were at Jesus’ right and left when He came into His kingdom. Ironically if Jesus had granted the two brothers their requests it would have been them hanging next to Him.
As Christians we are much like the sons of Zebedee making all kinds of requests to Jesus that seem quite reasonable. When we don’t receive an answer to our prayer we think, “God is holding out on me,” and we become disillusioned or angry with God. In truth Jesus knows what an answer to our prayer will bring to us, and thus, for our own protection, he does not grant everything we request. Therefore, we are to bring our requests before Jesus with the words, “Your will be done,” and then trust that His answers will always be for God’s glory and our benefit.