The Cadillac Prayer
If you believe, you
will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
years ago I met a man who was angry with God.
Jesus had refused to answer his prayer. Curious,
I asked the man about his unanswered prayer. He
said, I prayed for five years that Jesus
would give me a new Cadillac and He didnt.
He wasnt joking. Seeing he was rather
bitter, I asked him why he prayed for a Cadillac.
He said, I became a Christian after
attending Brother Joes (name withheld)
church about ten years ago. Over the years, I
gave a lot of money to the church because I was
led to believe that if I believed in God with all
my heart, Jesus would answer my prayers. Pastor
Joes favorite text was Matthew 21:22 and he
offered examples each week proving that Jesus
answered the prayers of the believers. After
listening to Pastor Joe for a while, I thought I
would give God a try. Pastor Joe said the key to
faith is that we must not have doubts about
receiving when we ask God for something. Taking
the pastor at his word, I convinced myself that I
would receive a new Cadillac. After five or six
years of believing and praying, I woke up and
concluded that I could have purchased a new
Cadillac with the amount of money that I had
given to the church. So, I quit praying and
attending church because I had been deceived.
I asked the man if it was possible that he was
praying for the wrong thing. He said, I
want what I want. If Jesus raised the dead and
healed the sick, a new Cadillac should have ben
man was not a fool he was misled. To the
best of his knowledge and ability, the man had
done everything right. He had believed in Jesus
and he had proven his faith by giving a
sacrificial sum of money to his church for five
to six years. The man believed that a miracle was
coming and he refused to believe otherwise until
it became obvious there would be no miracle
Cadillac. By the time I met him, his bitterness
with Jesus could not be reasoned
away. In his mind, he had given Jesus a fair
trial and Jesus had failed.
may smile at this story, but watch out. Millions
of Christians have been set up for
the same bitter results. Please consider the
following ten statements:
I believe in God.
I believe Jesus died on the cross.
I believe that salvation comes through faith.
I believe God hears my prayers.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God.
I believe in Heaven and Hell.
I believe that God works miracles.
I believe that God rewards the righteous.
I believe the Lord will take me to Heaven.
I believe there is a devil.
you believe these ten statements are true? If so,
you are a believer. Right? Now, look
at the words of Jesus: If you believe,
you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
(Matthew 21:22, italics mine) For those people
who insist on proof texts that
require no interpretation, there it is in black
and white. Jesus Himself said if we believe
we shall receive. Can you understand the
mans mindset: He believed, but Jesus
people today are praying the Cadillac
prayer and, as far as they know, they are
doing everything right and getting no
response from God. The man said what he
wanted very well, I want what I want.
Does God promise to fulfill our wants? James
You do not have [what
you want], because you do not ask God [for the
right things]. When you ask, you do not receive ,
because you ask with the wrong motives, that you
may spend what you get on your [self-centered]
pleasures. (James 4:2, 3,
insertions mine) Does a wise parent give his
child everything the child wants? No, of course
not. Will a wise and all-knowing God give His
children everything they want? No, of course not.
God is very careful about answering our prayers
because he perfectly understands the motives and
the carnal nature that lives within us. The
carnal nature is self-centered beyond measure:
It wants what it wants and worse, it
does not remain content very long even
after it gets what it wants! The carnal
nature is insatiable and human wisdom is flawed.
What makes us happy today makes us miserable
tomorrow. (For example, it is often said that the
two happiest days for a boat owner are the day he
buys the boat and the day he sells it.)
Therefore, according to divine love and infinite
wisdom, God is put in a situation where He has to
say no, no, no, no, no and no to
millions of prayer requests each day because He
knows fulfillment would be harmful. Note to self:
If I ask and I dont receive the answer
I wanted, a long string of nos
does not mean that God is not listening, it just
means the answer is no or not now
took several years for the man to wise up
and stop praying for a Cadillac. Then, the man
made a huge mistake. He became bitter at God and
abandoned his faith in Jesus. Of course, Jesus
loves that man and the Holy Spirit is doing
everything possible to bring him into truth, but
the man needs to understand where he went wrong.
First, he allowed his pastor to deceive
him. If the pastor had led the man to become a
seeker of Gods truth, rather than a seeker
of Gods gifts, the Cadillac prayer would
have eventually ended without bitterness. Jesus
knew the man with the Cadillac prayer would
become bitter because the man had been led to
believe that Jesus said something that He didnt
say! Jesus knew the mans heart and his
faithful giving (even though the mans
motives were selfish). Jesus knew the man and he
sadly waited for the implosion. Now, Jesus waits
for the mans recovery.
huge gulf exists between intellectual ascent to
truth (believing something is true) and living by
faith (reverent submission to Gods will).
Of course, learning the truth about God is
important because truth always deepens our faith
in God, but intellectual assent (believing
something is true, such as believing there is a
God) is not enough. James wrote, You
that there is one God. Good! Even the demons
believe that and shudder.
(James 2:19, italics mine)
the sake of discussion, let us surgically
separate believing from faith.
For example, you can believe the moon is made of
cheese if you want. But believing that something
is true does not make it true. Moreover,
believing that God will or wont do
something has no bearing on what God will or will
not do! The antediluvians did not believe a flood
was coming. Oops.
in God involves reverent submission to Gods
will. Faith means going where God directs, doing
all that God commands, and being all that God
wants me to be (go-be-do). If we want answers to
our prayers, we must live the reverent submission
to Gods will. Otherwise, we are going to
face a long string of nos.
Consider His perfect example: During
the days of Jesus life on Earth, he offered
up prayers and petitions with loud cries and
tears to the one who could save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverent
submission. (Hebrews 5:7) If the
man with the Cadillac prayer had become a Bible
student instead of a Bible spectator, he would
have quickly discovered his pastors
mistake. The pastor violated the meaning of the
Scripture by lifting Matthew 21:22 out of Bible
context. He took Jesus words and made them
say something which Jesus did not mean. As a
living author, I have had this happen to me many
times. People who wish to prove me wrong on some
point will lift a sentence of two from a
paragraph and use my words to say something that
is totally contrary to the point I advocate. This
process is called academic dishonesty.
When pastors and teachers unknowingly
make the bible say something that is contrary to
its truth, they put the bible in a state of
internal conflict. When they knowingly
make the bible say something that is contrary to
its truth, they are spiritually dishonest and
detestable in Gods sight. (Proverbs 12:22)
man with the Cadillac prayer was led into false
knowledge and ironically, his faith
brought his bitter disappointment! When the man
concluded that he had been deceived, he fulfilled
the demands of the carnal nature. Unfortunately,
he abandoned his faith in God, instead of having
his knowledge corrected and his motives purified!
I have shared his story because his
experience will soon be repeated billions of
times when the Great Tribulation begins.
world is full of people embracing false religious
thoughts and beliefs. Millions of faith-full
honest-hearted people have been led to believe
fiction. When Gods wrath breaks out on the
world, people will suddenly awake and great
bitterness will follow for a while. People
will come to despise their pastors when
they learn that their pastors did not warn them
or teach them about Gods coming wrath.
People will hate their church leaders when
they realize that their church was full of
spiritual inadequacy. People will also hate God
when they grieve over
ones who died in the mayhem. God anticipates this
coming bitterness and this explains why God will
give the survivors 1,260 days to process their
thoughts and feelings. His servants (the 144,000)
will proclaim the eternal gospel, the Holy Spirit
will lead millions into truth through Bible
study, and the honest in heart will overcome
their bitterness. Joy will eventually displace
anger and frustration because this is what faith
(reverent submission) does! Faith in God always
makes perfect sense when observed in reverse.
closing, there is a huge difference between
believing in God and abiding in Christ. Abiding
or resting in Jesus means letting go and
letting God have His way in everything.
Jesus said, I am the vine; you are
the branches. If a man remains in me and I in
him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you
can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me,
he is like a branch that is thrown away and
withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into
the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my
words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and
it will be given you. (John 15:
secret to asking for the right things and
receiving the right things is abiding in Jesus!
Many people have no prayer life because (a) they
are too busy, and (b) they really do not want God
to interfere with their plans, goals, or
ambitions. The carnal nature has a theme song
that everyone loves to hear (remember, everyone
has a carnal nature). The title is, I did
it my way. (My apology to the late Frank
Sinatra who made the song popular.) We have to be
honest! The carnal nature wants what it wants and
living in reverent submission to Gods will
is a great challenge. Which activity is easier?
Either, going, doing, planning, buying, and
selling or reverently waiting on God. You know
the answer. This is why Jesus said, indeed,
it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of
a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom
of God. (Luke 18:25)