Prayers. They are very eye opening, sometimes. We often ask God for everything under the sun. We ask Him to intervene on our behalf and help us.
As a parent, I have tried to encourage my children to pray. I don’t like “cookie cutter” prayers because they tend to become habit instead of requests from the heart. But I also am very cautious when I hear my kids ask for God to help them win things or help them do good on a test. I have to wonder about their motivation.
It’s the same for me and for others I observe in life. We ask God to help us with various things that are in OUR best interest. What does it benefit our faith life for God to honor those requests? For instance, if I ask God to please help me win the lottery – why would He do that for me? Would it draw me closer to Him? Would it honor Him? If my child asks God to help them do good on a test – yet they did not study for it, I have to wonder at their vision of having a God that is simply there to bail them out when they need it. However, if they ask God to help them remember what they studied for the test….then to me, that is a more fair and honorable prayer.
We ask God for so many things. But if we look inside of ourselves a little bit, most of those things are selfish requests. We don’t want to go through hardship or we want God to simply swoop in and rescue us from disaster.
We don’t own up to our own responsibilities that have been placed on our shoulders.
We need to take a look at our motivation when we come to the Lord in prayer. First of all, He is worthy of our respect. And He is worthy of our worship. But He is not going to simply cater to us all of the time for He loves us. He wants us to learn and grow. He may rescue us sometimes out of His great love for us, but it won’t be an “every time” kind of a thing.
As a parent, we need to teach our children how to own their own actions. Consequences follow actions –whether those are good or bad. God can help us through either one of those outcomes, but we can’t come to Him all of the time asking Him to help us avoid all the bad ones because of our own foolish or selfish choices.
Prayer isn’t simply “request for me” time. It’s conversation time. Time to honor. Love. Share our deepest feelings. Thank. It’s all of those.
We’d be wise to look at the motivations of our heart before we ask God for something. For even if we deny we have wrong motives; He can see right through us. When our loving God has to say “no” to us – if only for our own good.