The one thing God doesn’t want you to pray

There is a phrase I often hear when people pray and I think when God hears the request it makes him sad. It may even make him angry.

“Dear God, please be with us.”

Have you ever prayed this? I know I have, but I stopped because I realized what I’m actually telling God in this prayer is I don’t believe him.

When God brought Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, the plan was to go to the Land of Milk and Honey. So they set out, with God’s presence evident as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.

When they got to the land, Moses sent the 12 spies to check out the land and, when they returned, the majority report was it would be too dangerous for Israel to press forward because the inhabitants were too big for them to conquer.

Keep in mind this is after God performed the ten plagues to force Pharaoh to set Israel free, plus he miraculously split the Red Sea and provided an escape route on dry land.

Israel chose to believe God was not with them and would not continue to work on their behalf even though he had clearly shown them he was with them and was more than willing to do amazing things for them.

The result? God had them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all those people were dead. Disbelief has consequences.

40 years later, God has a new generation of Israelites on the cusp of entering the Promised Land. Here is what he told their leader, Joshua:

“Have I not commanded you (to enter the land)? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Fast forward about 1500 years. Jesus is at the end of his time on earth and is just about to ascend to heaven. Here is what he told his disciples:

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

I am with you…I am with you…I am with you…I am with you.

My stomach is swirling even as I write those words. The gravity of God’s presence in our lives is overwhelming. Nothing has changed for God. He is still with his people, every moment. He will always be with his people. We never need to ask him for his presence.

How would our lives change if, instead of asking God to be with us, we stepped boldly into every situation, confident and grateful God, indeed, is with us?

Dear God, thank you for your continued presence in our lives, giving us the strength we need day by day.

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shepherd image by Sr. Maria-Magdalena R.Maria at

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Written by : Nathan J. Anderson

I'm an author, husband, father and chaplain. I have worked with thousands of patients and families as they have dealt with death and dying. I have also had my own battle with death when I faced cancer in 2012. All of this has given me a unique perspective on life and life after death. I am a Christian and am passionate about helping people understand God's word and the possibility of living forever in paradise.

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