I want to play this game. I want ice cream. I want to go first. My three year old granddaughter, Hannah, has a sweet heart, but was driving me insane with the “I wants”. I began telling her that I couldn’t hear the words, “I want”. If she wanted something, she would have to ask me nicely with a “Grandma, may I please….” This not only taught good manners, but placed me in authority, rather than her little highness. By day two of this approach, she was catching on and becoming a much more pleasant person to be around.
That very same night, I pled to my Lord, “God, I want…”. Oops! I caught myself using the same exact words that I was trying to train out of my granddaughter. Was I in charge that I could just tell God what I wanted and expect Him to answer with an unending, “Yes”. I know that God wants to hear from His children, and He wants to know what is on my heart and what I want. But rephrasing my wants as a question reminds me of Whose in charge, and that He has the right to deny my requests. Just like I want to give good gifts to my Hannah, God wants to give what is good to me. But His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways and thoughts are much higher than my own (Is. 55:8-9 paraphrased). What I want is not always what is best for me in the eternal perspective. I must trust as Hannah must trust her parents and grandparents to make good decisions for her.
Asking, rather than demanding, is humbling. It reminds me of my proper position as God’s child. It establishes His authority in my life, and, I’m sure, it is much more pleasing to God’s ears. I do pray that God will help me to accept His No’s with as much grace that I accept His Yes’s. May your prayers of request to the Heavenly Father, Creator, and Lord be words of humility and awe, rather than demands of selfishness.