We have two children! Our boy is 15, and our girl is 5. In lots of ways, they are like chalk and cheese, but one thing they have in common is that they both know exactly what they want. Due to their differing ages, they have varying levels of sophistication when it comes to telling us what they want.
When our daughter has identified something that she “needs,” she proceeds to ask for said item over and over and over and over… If the answer is yes, then an exact time and date when the item will be purchased needs to be established as soon as possible. If the answer is maybe, then she will continue to ask repeatedly, waiting for the answer to change to yes. If the answer is no, then the gloves are off. No, can lead to tears and tantrums and an insistence that the item is “needed” now, and if she doesn’t get it, then its highly likely her world will end.
When our son has identified something that he “needs,” he takes a slightly more sophisticated approach, subtly dropping the item into conversations and raising the possibility of the item being purchased in as many different ways as he can. If the answer is yes, then the item needs to be purchased immediately. If the answer is maybe, then strategies are suggested that will reduce the workload or cost. Additional financial contributions are suggested, offers to do household chores increase, and easier ways to purchase the item are proposed. If the answer is no, the response is politely accepted, but the request is repeated at precisely the right intervals to not seem as if he is pestering, until the answer changes to yes.
What does telling God what you need look like for you?
For me, the preferred strategy often depends on the level of desperation in the request. I have used many of the strategies demonstrated by my children when asking God for what I need. I’ve repeatedly asked for something, listed the things I will do to make it happen, and shown my frustration when God has not met His side of an agreement He never signed up to. I’m not too proud to say I’ve also had what could be described as a tantrum when I have known God could step into a painful situation and turn it around immediately, but He has chosen not to. At times, I’ve avoided asking God for what I need as the guilt of knowing how blessed I am has stopped me from daring to make any requests to Him in prayer.
How about you?
How do you feel about telling God what you need?
This week Lyndon and I decided to take these words as literally as we could. With childlike faith, we have prayed together every day and told God what we think we need. We have trusted that if we’re asking for something that isn’t the best for us, then that prayer will not be answered. We have had days this week, where we have prayed together and started with the words, “Lord, you know what we’re going to say,” but saying it has kept us connected with each other and with God. We had started to slip into thinking, “What’s the point, He knows what we’re going pray about so what difference does it make?” Our experience this week is that it makes all the difference. I’m not going to pretend that every prayer has been answered immediately, but we have been more attuned to God’s presence and noticed small answers to prayer. The byproduct of this has been less worry, just as He promised. It sounds simple because it is!
I can hear your response…
“It’s not that easy; you don’t know what I’m going through.”
You’re right; I don’t, but that kind of works both ways. We’re all trying to live out Philippians 4:6-7 in the best way we can, and my experience this week is that turning each concern into prayer, beats spending time worrying and trying to find a solution myself.
So, I would encourage you this week to keep it simple, tell God what you need and see what happens!
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)