Something really cool happened the last night while I was putting Nick to bed.
Every night since the day he was born we have said night time prayers with our son. Just a simple little prayer:
"Thank You for today, Thank You for letting me play. Help me get a good night sleep so I can play tomorrow."
Short, sweet, to the point and NOT "Now I lay me down to sleep..." I really don't like that prayer.
But over the last few months, now that he's three, we have been letting him say his own prayers. He does a pretty good job for a three-year-old. He doesn't really thank God for the day any more usually things that are on his mind. His bear, his bath, we saw the space shuttle go up on Monday so lately he thanks God for the space ship and always, always "thank You for Mrs. Julie" his Sunday School teacher. After all this is done, with out fail he will say "and thank You God for good night sleep so I can play tomorrow."
I've never corrected him before and I've never thought much about what he was saying. He's done this for a few months now and it only struck me last night. As I was opening my mouth to correct him it was as if the Spirit came on me to tell me to shut up.
How many times do we ask God to do something and still have a faint shadow of doubt that it will happen? More than we would like to admit, I'm sure. Last night it felt to me as if my son was so sure that God was going to give him a good night sleep that he was already thanking God for it. How cool is that?
How many times do we ask God for something with such confidence that we thank Him as we ask him?
OK, I know that God is not going to answer every prayer, I know that not every prayer is Biblically sound. I would not expect God to say yes to a prayer that says, "God, I really want that (insert sports car here) cause I know I will get the girls, Thank You." Some prayers that may seem good and Holy may not be answered with a yes. David wanted to build a temple for God (good and holy). God said no. Maybe, just maybe, someone will hear about God because you were in a car accident or your car broke down on that road trip you prayed for travelling mercies on. (Blame Francis Chan "Crazy Love" for that one.)
I would feel confident, however, praying like this, "God, thank You that tomorrow You will help me be more like You and show Your love to my neighbors. Thank You that tomorrow You will show me how to manage Your money in a way that is pleasing to You. Thank You that tomorrow You will help me be a more Godly mother, wife, in-law, daughter."
James 1:6-7 says "But when you ask Him be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waiver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave on the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect anything from the Lord." Ok, it DOES refer to asking for wisdom (James 1:5), but I think that asking for help being a better steward of the things (money, home, family, neighbors) counts as asking for wisdom.
Nick probably doesn't realize what he is praying, he probably doesn't realize he is misquoting the prayer he has heard every night of his life. Regardless, it spoke to me, made me think and maybe it will make you think.
** This is an after thought, the post was published 20 minutes ago. Was this what Paul meant when he wrote "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God." Phil 4:6**
"I will hide Your word in my heart so that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11