December 23, 2009
Making a List and Checking It Twice
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
My kids are planners. They are on the ball. They look ahead and dream...at least when it comes to Christmas time! The rough drafts of their Christmas wish lists began somewhere around last March, but the final copies are now complete. Their father and me find great delight in hearing about their lists throughout the year and anticipating how we'll make their wishes come true.
Did you know that our heavenly Father delights to hear our desires, too?
Somewhere along the line, I began to believe that it was "unspiritual" to pray for myself. My prayers for others were fervent, but I thought that God would be especially pleased with my unselfishness if I left myself off the list. Philippians 4:6 contradicts this notion, however. God encourages His children to ask. He delights to give to us just like we delight to give to our children and others. In fact, Matthew 7:11 says, "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!" (NIV).
God's been teaching me that I should present my list to Him, but I'm also learning to ask carefully. We've all seen how ugly it can get at Christmas with greedy, self-indulgent children. They want it ALL, and they want it NOW. Loving parents choose gifts carefully, though. They would never give a gift to their child that was unsafe or could cause harm.
Our Father is the same way. He is the most extravagant gift-giver ever, but He gives with wisdom. His desire is to give gifts that help us, His children, to learn and grow. What are some of His great gifts? Salvation from sin, protection from evil, the indwelling Holy Spirit, wisdom, purity, holiness, true freedom...these are some of the gifts that He loves to hear requested by His sons and daughters.
There is one prayer that is always answered. It is the prayer for God's will to be done.
So, this Christmas let's make our lists long with our eyes fastened on praying for God's will. Here's a little peek at my "grown up Christmas list:" protection for my children, a greater love and desire to know Jesus, chances (and the courage) to share the glorious gospel of Jesus with others, blessings for the staff at my church, peace and love for my friends and their families, and wisdom to handle everyday life. I rejoice to know that I can lay that list at my Father's feet with confidence that He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Dear Lord, I've left out my own personal requests for so long. I know that often it's because of pride or self-sufficiency. Sometimes it's just because I haven't trusted You enough. Please help me to come to You with everything—joys, hurts, anxiety and needs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Amy's blog
Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer by Tara Furman
P31 Woman magazine
Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents: Words to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say by Susanne Scheppmann
Make your own "grown up Christmas list."
Pray, and give your list to Jesus.
Assess your list. Are these gifts that would be within God's will?
Read and reflect on this prayer written for you!
I Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
Matthew 6:9-10, "This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" (NIV)
© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105