*We are continuing to journey with Jesus through the end of the year with a Bible reading plan through the Gospels. Please join in on Facebook at facebook.com/ameliarhodeswriter (Click “follow” next to the “like” button and then “See first” on the drop down to not miss a post!) or on Instagram at instagram.com/ameliamrhodes. We started the book of Mark this week, with Mark 1 on Sunday, and Mark 2 today. I post daily photos and thoughts related to each passage.
**I had the privilege of sharing a devotional yesterday on The Upper Room. Feel like your faith, your life, is small? Read the devotional here.
“Hey, Mom! Could you please make this for dinner sometime?”
I stopped unloading bags of groceries to look at my 10-year-old son sitting at the kitchen table. His finger, covered in sticky granola bar crumbs, pointed at a jar of spaghetti sauce waiting to be put in the pantry.
As I leaned over his shoulder for a closer look, I saw the object of his request: a recipe for sloppy joes.
“Sure, buddy. I can make sloppy joes one night.”
“Awesome!” He returned to munching his after-school snack and me to my grocery unloading.
Later in the week, as we sat down to a dinner of sloppy joes, my boy watched me serve up his sandwich and exclaimed, “You remembered!! Thank you! I love sloppy joes.”
His joy and thanks delighted me. (Let’s be honest, that’s not always the response I get upon seeing what’s for dinner!)
“Of course I remembered.”
As my husband prayed for the meal, a small voice whispered in my head.
“This is the beauty of prayer…relationship. And this is the joy and delight I receive when you ask and I give and you respond in thanks.”
In The Divine Ordinary author Dallas Willard discusses the request as the heart of community, with each other and God (chapter 7):
When I ask someone to do or to be or to give something, I stand with that person in the domain of a constraint without force or necessitation. We are together. A request by its very nature unites. A demand, by contract, immediately separates.
Jesus describes this relationship of asking, and even compares it to when our children ask us for things:
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
We know all things children ask for can’t be granted.
If my boy had asked for chocolate cake for dinner, well that would be a no. If he had demanded sloppy joes, rather than asking, I also probably would have said no, and asked him to try again more respectfully.
Healthy parenting involves building a relationship of care and respect from both parent and child. When we say “no” it is because we love them and care for the child. Sometimes a child asks for good things we need to say no to, in order to help them grow in patience and discipline or other needed lessons. Sometimes the no is hard, and I have to ask my children to trust me.
With God, it is the same. He urges us to ask according to God’s will, to ask with open hands and not demands, and to trust Him.In prayer, we should care first and utmost about our relationship with God.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14
I must ask myself often – am I more concerned about God giving me what I desire when I pray, or about building a relationship of trust and love with Him?Am I more concerned about praying to get what I want or to grow in my relationship with God?
How have you grown in your relationship with God by making requests in prayer?
Resources to help you build a relationship with God:
The Prayer-Saturated Family: How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer by Cheryl Sacks – a great teaching for parents on how to incorporate prayer into all aspects of your home and life together.
A Spoonful of Grace: Mealtime Blessings in Bite-Sized Pieces by Annette Hubbel – short, bite-sized devotionals and prayers meant to be shared together at meal time.
Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community by yours truly – use as a tool to talk with your children about the things happening in the world around them and how to ask God work and move in our lives and community
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God by Dallas Willard – a deep and thoughtful look at the life and teaching of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount.
Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journeyby Sharon Garlough Brown, a novel following the journey of 4 women as they learn to walk with Jesus and practice spiritual disciplines, an intriguing story with practical tools for the reader to learn and grow in.
*Affiliate links used in this post