I like getting stuff.
I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t. Growing up as a kid, I always looked forward to two days above all others: my birthday (March 16, in case you were looking to get me a gift) and Christmas. Why? Well, the presents of course!
We all love getting stuff. And I think it’s natural for us to carry that into our interaction with God a lot of the time, mostly because wanting to get stuff comes so naturally to us. And yet, ironically, that’s something that’s probably wrecked prayer for many of us, or at least stopped us from experiencing prayer the way that God intends for it to be.
The last few weeks, we’ve talked about Jesus’ model prayer for us, the Lord’s Prayer. We started in week one by looking at prayer and saying that we always need to start by reminding ourselves about who we are praying to: Our matchless God, the Lord of All. Understanding God’s power and might as we start praying allows us to be in the right frame of mind for the next part of prayer: surrender. We’ve got to have the courage to tell God that we want His kingdom, His will above ours in our lives. And we know that we can trust Him because we’ve already been reminded of His greatness and faithfulness and really who He is. Surrender is oftentimes not easy, but it becomes easier when we remember the God who is calling us to surrender.
And then, Jesus moves to our favorite part: asking.
“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NIV).
Now we get to the part that feels really natural for us. Asking. Jesus says that after we’ve been reminded of who we are praying to and after we surrender to Him and confess that His will, His plan, and His purpose need to be (and are) above ours, then we can ask for our “daily bread,” or our needs and wants.
There are no limits on what we can ask. You can ask for healing. You can ask for help financially. You can ask for a job, a spouse, a new opportunity. In fact, the Bible tells us in James that a lot of times we don’t have things because we don’t ask God. There’s certainly something huge to be said for coming to God and simply asking Him to help us out with what we need.
But that’s also where the surrender part is so huge. We’ve already surrendered to God and said that we want His will above ours. And that’s a critical component, because if we’ve truly achieved an attitude of surrender, we’re not going to get bowed out of shape when God doesn’t do what we want. Again, not that that makes the disappointment of a “no” from God easy, but it becomes easier when I have gotten to a place that I can trust God is working out His will in my life, even when she doesn’t call back, when I don’t get the job, or when my circumstances don’t seem to change. It’s not always emotionally satisfying. But we can rest in God’s provision regardless.
And to be honest, isn’t that how we’d expect God to work? I mean, if He is really far above our thoughts and ways, doesn’t it make sense that His will and mine aren’t always going to line up?
So, today, start asking. Don’t be afraid. Express and pour out your heart to God. Bring your stuff to your heavenly Father; it honors Him to do so because it demonstrates your faith that He could potentially make a difference. But don’t forget to do so in light of reflecting on who He is and surrendering your will to Him! It makes all the difference in the world.