Is God our Heavenly Santa Claus?
When we are young our prayers are often simple and pure. We might pray for our parents, our pets and our friends. As youngsters we pray over our meals and before we crawl into bed at night.
Often children’s prayers can innocently also sound like wish lists. The first desperate prayer that I remember praying was for a new bike! Innocently children seem to deeply understand that God is capable of caring for all their needs. In their hearts, a new stuffed animal or dollhouse is important. Who else to ask but God?
And, they are right.
God does care about every detail of our lives, and He is more than capable of taking care of the big and the little things. But, is prayer about a wish list? Is God our Heavenly Santa Claus?
So often our prayers can become focused on our needs. Our pains, our troubles, our desires. We spill them out to God in a flood of emotion and perhaps even anguish. And God wants to hear them. He cares about every single detail of our lives.
When we focus only on our needs, though, I think that we miss something. God isn’t in the business of magically fulfilling our wish lists. And prayer isn’t part of some elaborate Heavenly requisition process.
Prayer is about communicating with God, and allowing Him to work in our lives. A list of needs keeps our eyes fixed on ourselves. Wish lists are intrinsically self serving, even when the wishes are for good, pure and even necessary things.
Prayer that goes deeper than the wish list will truly allow us to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Prayers of thanksgiving, repentance and prayers of absolute silence – only listening for His voice. These prayers will draw us closer to Him and allow us to know and understand His will for us. These prayers might even change what we put on our wish lists, helping us to find meaning and perspective.
God cares about each detail of our lives, as we instinctively know when we are young. He even cares about the new bike, as I found out. God cares most about us, and drawing us close to Him. That is top of my wish list this year, isn’t it on yours?