When we were little kids, going to a restaurant was a rare treat. One summer, on a road trip, there was a great greasy hamburger joint we tried. Greasy burgers, salty fries, and thick milkshakes. A kid’s dream place. But, they had this server who took our orders at the front window. Remember, this was a different era. He had an ‘annoying’ habit: he made the children say “Please” and “Thank You”. No “please”, no “thank you”…no hamburger. It was a quick and easy lesson, pretty straightforward, with lots of incentive to learn quickly.
As a kid, I always thought it was strange…having to say please and thank you to get something I actually had to pay for. But in retrospect, it really was positive reinforcement for the lessons my parents were teaching me at home. It showed me several important lessons. I am not entitled to anything. I am dependent on others for the items I need and want. And, I should always be thankful for everything I get. All accurate and valuable lenses to develop. We could use some more servers like that in the world today to reinforce these principles today. Actually, it seems like more parents need to role out this strategy with their kids.
Our interactions with God should follow and reflect these same lenses. Our prayers should always include “please” and “thank you”. You see, we often view life through very entitled lenses. We deserve no traffic on the way to work, a good job, a nice house, good health, well-behaved kids. No one close to us should be dying. These lenses just propagate the “I am King” and “My kingdom come, my will be done” mentality which virally spreads, infecting all areas of our lives. If we just keep repeating our concerns to God, with a disrespectful and entitled attitude, we will live in a state of confused tension not knowing why Santa Claus isn’t giving us what we demanded.
However, when you follow-up your request by thanking Him for the grace He has already extended to you and prayer He has already answered, your mindset becomes much more positive and in line with His sovereignty and agenda…because now you are aware of the reality of His action for you. Thankful prayers, for everything, the good and the bad, keep your focus on Him as the ultimate Authority.
Today, when you bring your prayer requests to God, say “please” and speak clearly and candidly…lay out your concerns…pour out your heart. Then immediately thank Him for the answers that He has already set in motion. More importantly, look closely for those answers, because they might not be packaged how you initially expected. If it seems like God isn’t answering your prayers, you need to re-tune your system to a different channel because God is answering with the plan that is the best fit for you right now.
Dear Father God, This is Your world, Father. You made it and control it. I relinquish all control into Your hands…I trust You completely. I thank You, Father, for the gift of receptivity that You have planted in my heart. I thank You for the answers to my prayers that are already on their way. Please grow in me a humble and thankful attitude. Give me eyes and radar to see Your answers to every prayer request, because I know you answer, but when it’s different than what I want, I sometimes don’t see it. I pray in the name of the one in whose name we are called to pray, Christ Jesus; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”