Blog #31- The Power of Please
My prayer life reached a whole new level recently, by being reduced to one word:
I’ve said please before, but not always in the nuance of its actual definition. Please is an adverb meaning “a polite addition to a request.” (Emphasis on polite.) Sometimes my pleases are not very polite. I thought they were, but recently my heart sold me out.
I definitely sound nice at first.
“God, will You please give me ___________?” I willingly turn to Him. If I’m honest, though, I don’t expect God to answer on the first try.
I just know the drill.
Prayer starts with lots of pleases sprinkled pleasantly throughout. Depending on the size of the request, and the length of time that passes, the pleases might get a little snippy.
If that shortness in tone doesn’t do the trick, then the pleases start to tap their feet in annoyance.
“C’mon, Lord. I said please.”
If answers are still not forthcoming, the pleases take it up a notch. Through painted smiles they say:
“I have jumped through Your hoops. I have prayed… a lot. Please, Lord.”
I think you get the picture. The problem is, I didn’t get the picture until recently. I had been praying for something, not realizing how very unpolite my pleases had become.
I was sitting on my son’s bed, listening to him share a significant struggle, when I realized we were struggling with the same thing! My knee jerk reaction, as a mama bear, was to spout out a loud,
“Lord?!? You know I want this, but now my son is struggling. I said, PLEASE!!!”
In that instant, I caught a glimpse of my heart. There was nothing nice about it. Rather it was demanding and angry. I had reduced God to a vending machine and was literally banging on the side of it.
Hebrews 4:16 reminds us we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” The problem is we focus on approaching Him with confidence and skip right over the word in the middle.
Yes, we can approach it, but don’t forget it’s still a throne. One that God still sits on.
And I don’t think He’s crazy about our testy pleases.
The next morning, I got on my knees and all I could say was, “please.” The word barely squeaked out of my mouth. God knew I was bringing the same request to Him, but in a much different tone.
There is power behind an appropriate please, because that shift in my attitude did something in my heart.
I realized my pleases get unruly when I shoulder the responsibility of God working in my life. If I can just pray enough or with enough urgency, God will answer. As if I have to measure up before God will act. Conversely, I assume when God doesn’t answer, it’s because I didn’t measure up.
Do you ever feel like you have to measure up before God will act on your behalf?
According to Hebrews 4:16, God wants us to approach Him confidently. Why? So, we can “receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” Mercy and grace are not reliant upon our behavior.
Let that sink in. It’s rich.
I still want God to answer this prayer. For my sake and for my son’s. I don't have to feel responsible for it, though. The answer is not dependent on whether or not I am good enough. That’s a huge relief.
Are you ready to quit scrambling to measure up in your life? I think I already know your answer:
Take note of your pleases. Remember you don’t have to measure up for them to work.
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