I run my soft fingers through my stringy hair as it drips water on my bedroom floor. As I quickly dry my hair with a towel, I look outside my window seeing the golden sun rays dance along the lawn of dew-kissed grass. The tea kettle whistles a cheerful tune that calls me downstairs for breakfast. A cup of lemon tea with precisely 1 and a half sugar cubes. My worn, leather bound Bible. A lime green ink gel pen. My blue journal overflowing with countless church note pamphlets and superfluous paper scraps. This is all I need to have a good Saturday morning with the Lord.
I proceed to walk to the patio and sit on the green couch, wrapping myself in a seemingly unending net of crocheted, turquoise yarn. I open my Bible to Philippians and smooth the satin pages back. As I read, the late morning sun and my Ama’s handmade afghan warms me like a comforting hug.
The gilded long hand on the clock hits the 12, and I finish my Bible reading. I begin to pray.
“Father, I pray that You will help Becca with her tests this week…Give mom peace as she keeps working full time…Give Micah rest from his busy school schedule…Help me to get a better grade on my math tests…Help me to focus…Help those who have come under the control of ISIS…Help the persecuted church all around the world find peace in Your love. Amen.”
As I shut my Bible, I stared into the bottom of the empty glass mug wondering if there was anything else I need to do.
What had I just prayed? I thought inwardly. It struck me as odd that I prayed to God like He was some kind of vending machine. I put in a prayer and hopefully out would come something good. But we cannot and should not treat God like He is machine. He is then confined to our human standards. God is more than that. He is infinite. He is loving and He wants to be in relationship you; a relationship full of grace and goodness and pure conviction through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Think about it like this, if I took a piece of white computer paper and drew a single ink dot in the middle of it. What would you notice first? The ink dot? Or the white space surrounding it? Well, being the OCD freak that I am, I would probably notice the ink dot.
Many times our prayer life is much like this. We are quick to notice the problems in our lives and cry out to God in an attitude of constant need. I wake up in the morning on a school day and grumble and complain. I ask God to help me have a good day.
Gently, He tells me “Ah, my daughter. I have already given you so much to be filled with inexpressible joy for. Arise, and be thankful.”
Grrrr. Really? I asked for something!! Give it to me God! But then I realize He’s right. I had too much of an attitude of need and wanting, rather than a attitude of praise and gratitude. Isn’t His infinite sacrifice for me on the cross enough for me to sing endless praise?! Why do I look for the ink dot, search for the flaw, tell God He is being unfair to me when the white space is clearly in front of me?
I encourage all of you to take a close look at your own prayer life. Watch how you pray. Do you have an attitude of wanting and neediness, or an attitude of gratitude and inexpressible joy? Make a journal full of praises. Be attentive to the blessings around you. Whenever you find something to praise Him for write it down and dwell on it.
Yes, prayer is important. Yes, it is good to pray for protection, healing and peace. Yes, this world is broken, sinful and messed up. But don’t let Satan take a grip on your prayer life. Don’t let him blind you to the good and beauty of our Father. Don’t let him make your main focus on the “dot.”
Focus on the goodness of our Father. He has made us for more than this. Live in anticipation of His second coming.
“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1