I like to get what I want. If I really really want something, I will do everything in my good-natured power to get it. I like to think that I’m a go-getter but it can also be labeled as stubborn.
I can recount to you numerous stories of me begging and pleading with my parents as a child to just get a taste of something that I wanted. In my head, there was always a way, I just had to bargain the right deal. Of course my parents, who are more strong-willed than an 8 year old who wants to watch 15 more minutes of TV before bed, never faltered.
I realized recently that I’ve been approaching prayer in a really similar way. My stubbornness is disguised as a go-getter mentality, even in my conversations with God. What I’ve been doing is negotiating with God, trying to bargain the best deal for something that I want. I know that everyone communicates with Him differently, and I struggle sometimes with prayer since there’s no right or wrong way.
But I am learning that God’s plan for me includes way more than I could ever dream up and bring to him. How would my conversations with God look if I went to him with an open mind?
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.
But still I ask, plea, and bargain with my Father like a young child, again, doing whatever I can to get a little scrap of something that I want for myself. I lay out all of my desires before Him, and hope he’ll let me have them.
This type of communicating with God is like a negotiation I’ve set up. But here’s the problem with negotiations – they typically involve give-and-take from both parties.
Usually I start off with the big picture, what I’m really really praying for (in the most raw sense). But as I try to negotiate my deal, my desires for the things I’m asking for start to dwindle, because I think I need to bargain with God.
But it is not like that with our God. He is a giver! Were we, as humans, begging God to send Jesus to die for our sins? No! He graciously did that, knowing it was what we needed. And I’m confident we would have never asked for that on our own.
Of the things in my life that have been such a blessing, I never had to beg for them. They were all pure gifts from God, beautiful offerings that I never would believe I deserve. These blessings have given me such life.
So why do I sit down sometimes and beg for some earthly desire? Well, because I am a human. And because I am a broken child of God who, after 21 years, still needs the guiding light of the Father. A Father who can wait patiently for me to cease my negotiating and when He’s ready, opens the doors to what He has carefully crafted for me.
Learning how to let my stubbornness go in my relationship with God will surely be a bumpy road, but I am ready to start. After all, patience is a virtue.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
words by Megan Peters and photo by Emily Steffen