A few years back, on a trip with family and friends, we took a boat trip down the Amazon River.

One morning, the captain explained that we’d soon come upon a turn in the river where the water was wide and still. He said it was a safe place to swim.

I did my usual drill of going over all the risks. What about alligators? What about anacondas? What about piranhas? What about sunken trees?

As I was contemplating all the “what abouts,” and concluding it wasn’t safe for the kids, the boat began to slow down. I went to go break the news to my kids, when I heard shouts and whoops from overhead. To my horror, I saw my children—followed by my wife Libby—jumping off the deck and into the water!

While I spent my time freaking out and watching over them, they were having the time of their lives. They’d taken the captain at his word and were reveling in the thrill of the moment.

Have you ever contemplated the “what abouts” in your prayer life?

So often, we get totally caught up in “what about” questions—questions that suck the power and joy out of our prayer lives and leave us wondering why we bother praying at all. We get stuck thinking:

What about my loved one whose cancer hasn’t been healed, despite all my prayers?

What about my ongoing struggle with singleness, even though I’ve prayed for a spouse?

What about the fact that I’m still unemployed, when I’ve been asking God for a job for so long?

Instead of dwelling on the “what abouts,” we need to start listening to our Captain and taking Him at His word.

First John 5:14-15 says:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

This text reveals the secret—which is praying in line with God’s will. We’re so used to asking God for what we want—but true prayer is asking God for what He wants.

So, put aside your “what about” worries. Open your Bible. Cling to the Captain’s promises. And then dive right in to revel in the thrill of a deep and rewarding prayer life!