The same day, as I was scrolling through Facebook, a friend had posted that she was trying to spend the entire day without asking God for anything. She stated that every time she was prompted to complain or ask God for something, she instead decided to praise and worship Him. She claimed that the task had not been easy and that she had been amazed at how many times she had to stop herself from asking for something. She also declared, however, that her time with the Lord that day had been sweet and that she had had a much easier time keeping a good attitude.
With the way my mind works, I had no trouble intermingling Jason's never-ending appointment with my friend's Facebook status, and I began to wonder how many times I must sound like Jason's client. "God, just one more thing." "Lord, while we're chatting, let me ask you this." "I know I said I'd only ask for one thing today, but I'm in a real pickle, and I can't make it through without you." Just one more thing. . . over and over again.
Here's the thing: God doesn't mind us asking for things. In fact, He encourages it. How many times in the Bible does it say we should ask? Many! So, it's not that God doesn't want us to ask. It's simply that asking is not all He wants from us. He wants to hear our praise. He wants us to just sit and chat with Him. He wants us to be still and simply dwell in His presence. Often, we're not good at those parts, but we seem to have the asking part down pat, and so that's all we ever do. Our prayer times are reduced to a list of wants and needs. What a shame! What are we missing out on by not exploring the other avenues of prayer?
Have you ever had your phone ring, checked the caller ID and cringed because you knew that the person calling was going to ask a favor of you? How did you know? Because that's the only time they call! They never call to chat or to ask how you're doing. They don't call to encourage or to pray with you. Nope, every time they call, it's the same thing, "Hey, I was wondering if you could help me out." Frustrating, isn't it? Now think how God must feel when we do the same thing to Him over and over again, day after day. I don't want God to cringe every time I call upon Him. I don't want Him to say, "Oh no, it's Dana again. What's she going to complain about now?" Not that I think God would ever think or say that, but you get the point.
God wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. He wants to hear our cries. He wants us to ask for what we need and even for those things we want. But let's not stop there. Let's make sure we balance our asking with praising, our petitions with gratitude and our complaints with stillness. Oh, and just one more thing, let's cherish the time we have with our Heavenly Father. It truly is precious!
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7