"We'll put it on your birthday list," I told Ann.
It was and is my typical response to items she requests as we meander our way through the store.
Most recently, she asked for a Tinker Bell wand. It was a bath toy that when used with a little color tablet, will turn the bath water different colors. Obviously, it is a must-have for any three-year-old girl.
The thought of a requested item going on a list somehow reassures my little girl that she just might indeed get what she wants one day. That one day isn't until late Fall, but whatever.
It was this list, that between you and me exists only in my head, that got me thinking as I read the other day.
I had picked up The Power of a Positive Wife to read as I nursed Jane. Not like I need any help in this area, ahem.
I flipped to a page I had dog-eared. On it was a reminder from the author, Karol Ladd, to not give up on our prayers. Sure, she was referring to prayers for our husbands, but the story she pointed to in the Bible (Luke 18: 1-5) probably means our prayers in general, not just those for our spouses.
As I read this, I thought of my daughter's birthday list. It helped me understand a bit of how God might listen to my prayers. Perhaps, just as my daughter's multiple requests for things make me smile, my requests might also amuse God.
I like to see what my daughter asks for because it helps me get to know her better. Every now and then, she'll request something that will surprise me, though my mind is failing to come up with an example right now. And maybe that is exactly what my prayers to God do for Him. Or maybe I should say that my prayers help me get to know Him better.
You see, just as I know better than to give into my daughter's every whim, God knows better than to grant my every request. As a mother, I know that giving my daughter everything she wants when she wants it won't help her become the person she is meant to be.
This doesn't mean I want my daughter to stop asking and I'm certain my Father doesn't want me to stop asking either. Persistance in prayer is a good thing. I believe it helps me to know God's will for my life. And, the more time I spend with Him, the more likely I will be to accept and even delight in His will, even when, and maybe especially when He tells me no.
Just as my thoughts are greater than my daugther's (at least for now), so are His thoughts greater than mine. So, even when it seems God is saying no to a prayer that to me seems perfectly reasonable, such as a request for healing someone, I won't despair. Only He knows what we truly need.