A Noble Request

La conversion de Saint Paul by Luca Giordano (1690), Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy.

So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” — Acts 9:6

As a seminary student I was often impressed by stories of Christians who made a great impact for God. So I asked the Lord to give me the same spiritual insight and power they had. On the surface that looks like a noble request. But one day I realized that it was actually a self-centered prayer. So instead of asking God to make me like someone else, I began asking Him to show me what He wanted me to do.

When Saul of Tarsus was converted on the road to Damascus, he asked two questions. The first was, “Who are You, Lord?” Realizing he was in the presence of the living God, only one other question mattered: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6). He recognized that obedience to God’s will for him was to be the central focus of the rest of his life.

Requests for health, healing, success, and even spiritual power are not wrong, but they can become selfish prayers if they do not flow from a heart determined to obey God. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father” (John 14:21). Obedience expresses our love for God and enables us to experience His love for us.

Have you made that noble request: “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

Herb Vander Lugt

Master, speak, and make me ready,
When Thy voice is truly heard,
With obedience glad and steady,
Still to follow every word.


The best way to know God’s will is to say “I will” to God.

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