Sometimes we pray for what we think would be good for us, but, fortunately, we have a most loving, gentle Father who always knows what will be best for us in time and eternity. I’ve read a number of books over the years that talk about how there are some blessings and graces God wants to give us and will if only we will take the time to ask. The Prayer of Jabez is one such book. Bruce Wilkinson talks about the abundant blessings the Lord wishes to give His children each day. All we have to do is ask. He’s ready and waiting to love us in intimate ways far beyond our imagination, but we have to be open to receiving what He gives.
We need to learn to ask with our hearts, minds, and bodies open to the Lord’s Will. Though some people might prefer to have a genie in a bottle to appear whenever they want something and immediately grant their wish, those of us who walk with the Lord become increasingly cognizant that there are many times when we aren’t even aware of whom or what we need most in a particular situation. I’m reminded of this when reading one of my favorite Scripture passages in Romans 8 where it says that “the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26). God understands what is in the depths of our hearts even when we are hurting too much to formulate the words to ask, when we lack much of the energy needed to seek, or when we feel almost too weak to knock.
There is a vulnerability and humility in asking. It requires admitting to ourselves and others that we are in some way lacking in mind, body, and/or spirit. We are not complete in and of ourselves and know we must seek out that which we lack. The experience of recognizing and accepting we aren’t self-sufficient is humbling. Coming to the point at which we see this and are able to own it can, in some instances, take years to do.
From a very early age, we try to establish our independence and self-sufficiency. Toddlers who have learned a new skill or reached a new stage of development will often be adamant in reminding those around them: “I do it myself!” Many of us keep this habit long after we have left the teenage years, another stage often marked by a fierce desire for independence. We get into trouble when we use that philosophy when it comes to God. There are spiritual gifts, material things, and emotional strength that we’ll need from God and that He’ll give us through others because we don’t have all we need on our own.
We can sit there in the hallway crying and fussing because we can’t get our bright red galoshes on our feet without assistance, or we can accept help and get outside to splash around in the puddles.
Just as a loving parent anticipates the needs and wants of their children, God knows our needs and delights in granting us the desires He placed in our hearts to begin with. It is through His infinite wisdom and unconditional love that we grow in our trust that the Lord wants us to approach Him, humble ourselves enough to ask Our Father for what He already knows we need, and be willing to seek the Truth that will lead us to the right door on which we are to knock and enter to be warmly received.
Note: This reflection is one I wrote in honor of the participants of the Men's Cursillo Weekend taking place at Shalom House, July 25-28, 2013. It was originally published in the July 2013 edition of The Rooster Review.