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I Want What I Want When I Want It

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 15, 2014

knows you and loves you

I Want What I Want When I Want It

I sometimes have difficulty settling down to prayer. I mean, real, earnest prayer, as uninterrupted as I can make it. Sometimes my mind flits about, from one topic to another to yet another. And that’s all in about three seconds. This has been happening more lately, and I suspect it’s due to having so many things on my mind. However, I have been consistently coming to God. Pretty consistently, anyhow.

Recently, when I was praying in the morning as I customarily do, my mind and my attention began doing the same thing, flitting around. Hop, skip and jumping all over the place. But then, I started thinking about what I wanted. What I needed. I continued in this vein for some seconds, and then I drew myself up short.

Wait a moment! I drew back, mentally, and reconsidered how I was expressing myself in prayer. “I want! I want! I want!” It seemed like that was most of what was coming out of my mouth that morning. Isn’t that the request that most people have in hand, when they come to you? Goodness, I should think that might get pretty whiny, even unpleasant. And then, I turn right around and ask—no, beg is the appropriate word. I am afraid I am also guilty of praying like this, from time to time.

What about when people want things they shouldn’t have? Or, in a related way, what if people ask for things that are wildly inappropriate?

Take my daughter, for example. (It’s been several years since she graduated from college, just to let people know how long ago this was.) Years ago when she was a preschooler, she very much wanted a pony for Christmas. Her father and I lived in an apartment in Chicago at the time, finances were very tight, and a pony was absolutely, positively out of the question. But, how could I tell my young daughter that? How could I give her the very adult, reasonable, matter-of-fact reasons why she wouldn’t be receiving a pony for Christmas?

She was so earnest, so sincere in her child’s-desire for a pony! I knew I had to do something, since her strong desire was lasting for days and days. Eventually, I got up the courage to tell her that there was no way she could receive that pony. I had to be the loving but firm parent, telling her that she would not get her heart’s desire.

God, how often do You have to be the loving but firm Parent, letting me down easy? Telling me in loving but firm manner that I am not receiving a “pony” for Christmas, either. (Whatever the “pony” in my life happens to be.) Thanks for loving me, no matter what.

Let’s pray. God, Your ears are always open, Your arms always widespread. Help me align my will with Yours. Thank You for helping me find innovative ways to approach You in prayer. Thanks for being my loving, heavenly Parent. I appreciate and love You, too! Amen.

@chaplaineliza