I don’t know about you but it’s pretty easy for me to make a list in my mind of things that I would like and “send it up” to God. This is generally the nature of my prayers, since I’m a ‘list person’. Even if you’re not a ‘list person’ though, I bet you sometimes do the same:
1) Please do this
2) Please change that
3) Please cause Janine, my least favourite co-worker, to choke on her banana this morning
4) I want more money
5) I want more happiness
6) I want more candy
7) A Ferrari would be nice
8) A McLaren F1 is my second choice
9) Please make Janine go mute
10) I will settle for a new Mazda 3
11) Please God, for the love of yourself, don’t let these maniac drivers on the road ram me into a tree. They all drive like idiots. Maybe it’s the snow… Okay it’s probably not the snow, they look like idiots too. Everyone is an idiot. God, why did you make a whole heaping world of idiots?
Lists, right? Admit it. You do it too.
But here’s the thing, as handy-dandy as lists are to write for ourselves to remember things, they seem to sometimes get in the way of our relationship with God.
Feel free to try and disagree with me. But I think I’m right.
God seems to constantly be asking for a relationship. If he wanted us to whip up a list and submit it to him, we might as well call him Santa Clause and treat every day like Coca Cola’s version of Christmas. Because that’s basically what we’re doing. But all throughout the Bible God had conversations with his faithful ones, relationships that were so strong that certain human beings actually changed the course of the world by having a conversation with God that made God change his mind about things. That seems crazy, but it also seems so obvious; why wouldn’t God value our opinion enough to be swayed by it? He is asking for a relationship. Moses was constantly conversing with God, asking him to give the Israelites another chance even though they became rude ungrateful whiner babies on more than one occasion. God made the animals but then let Adam name them. And God’s relationship with many others throughout the Bible was the same as these. God wants to know how you feel, what you think and he wants to ‘talk it out’. He doesn’t want your Christmas list. Save that for the fat fraud in red. What he really wants is to know the real you, not what you want, and for you to know the real him. He wants us to listen and wait for him to respond. But maybe we’re too busy reciting our list, trying to make sure we tell him everything we want in the ten seconds we reserve for prayer. But the joke is on us. God already knows everything we want. In fact, he knows all the desires of our hearts.
Do we know the desires of his?
I’m SO guilty of getting caught up in my list. What will I tell God in the end if I see him in person for the first time and he says, “I told you the desire of my heart. I told you because I knew you could fulfil it.” And then I say, “Well you see…I really wanted this car…and then there was all of this drama at work…and then the dog crapped on the floor…and I really just needed to get it all sorted out.”
He also doesn’t want us to simply surrender all of our hopes, dreams and passions though either. He gave us those things for a reason. If he didn’t want us to have free will, to have passions, opinions, or gifts, he would have built himself robots – not humans. But he made us human for the sake of relationship. He says, “I know your dreams. Bring them to me and let’s discuss them”. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He doesn’t want you to toss them out the window and then turn to him and say, “God, what am I supposed to do? I need direction! What am I supposed to do with my life?” I like to imagine him sitting in a lazy boy with a cup of coffee and pondering this. Then finally he leans forward, smirking a little, and says, “What do you want to do?”
All I’m saying is that I think God cares more about what we think than we realize. He will sit with you for hours and ‘hash it out’ until you can both come up with a solution to the problem, if that’s what you really want. But he wants to sort it out with you. It’s okay to let him help, because no offense but he’s better at this life stuff than you are. He has a gazillion more years of experience. And if we’re willing to build on that relationship, we will start to understand his heart. And that’s where the fun begins. Because you never know, he just might say, “Go to Jamaica and preach the gospel. Then go to Mexico and build homes for the homeless so that the people can see that I love them, and after that, go to South Africa and minister to orphans and teach about me in the schools. You, precious one, are going to live a life of adventure.”
Can you feel it? He’s speaking to you.