Scripture says of Israel, “Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power: The day when he redeemed them from the enemy” (Psalm 78:41-42, NKJV). Israel turned away from God in unbelief. Likewise, I believe we limit God today with our doubt and unbelief.
I limit God most in the area of healing. I have prayed for physical healing for many, and I have seen God perform miracle after miracle. When it comes to my own body, though, I limit God. I am afraid to let him be God to me. I douse myself with medicine or run to a doctor before I ever pray for myself. I’m not saying it’s wrong to go to the doctor, but sometimes I fit the description of those who “did not seek the Lord, but the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12).
Jesus says that God does not hear our prayers and praises simply because we utter them over and over for hours at a time. It is possible to pray, fast and do righteous things and still not reach the place where we hunger to know him and begin to understand his ways. This was demonstrated during Christ’s ministry with the very people he grew up around.
“When he had come to his own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary?...’ So they were offended at him.
“But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:54-58).
We do not learn his ways in the prayer closet alone, although everyone who truly knows the Lord is very intimate with him. You cannot know God’s ways without quality time in which we let God be God to us, laying every need and request in his hands and then walking forward in faith that he will answer.