Like most mothers, I spend a lot of time in my car dropping off children and picking them up from school and extracurricular activities.
There is an officer on duty at Jonah’s school who helps direct traffic in the mornings and afternoons. We have seen this policeman every single day since August 6.
Every. Single. Day.
Last week, one of my kids asked me why the policeman always sits on the side of the road, even though we have talked about this very man and his job numerous times over the past few months.
“But Mom, why is he sitting there?”
I explained that his purpose was to direct traffic, keep traffic moving, and protect the children who were leaving school each afternoon. I thought I did a pretty good job of thoroughly describing this officer’s job.
“But Mom, why is he there?”
Again I explained as carefully as possible so this child could understand.
“Mom, why is he sitting there? What’s his job?”
By the third time of listening to the same question, I was getting pretty frustrated. I mean, come on -I had answered the question twice already!
(And I think my children could sense my frustration because no one asked the question again.)
I wonder, though, if God ever gets frustrated with us as we pray for the same things over and over. I mean, He already knows what’s in our hearts so technically we don’t really even have to put a voice to it.
I once heard a woman speak on prayer at a church I was attending. What she said actually shocked me. She mentioned that whenever we have a prayer request or when someone asks us to pray for them, all we really need to do is state their name. I guess it makes sense: God already knows the need and He obviously knows the best way to handle the situation, right?
If you’re anything like I am, however, you may often find yourselves praying the exact same things over and over, hoping your words will change a situation. Do you think this is the right or wrong way to pray?
Whenever I am unsure of something, I try to see what Scripture tells us about it. I’ll be honest, sometimes I get other people’s opinions first, but I do know that God’s Word is the one source of truth that I can always trust.
So let’s see what the Bible says about prayer:
Philippians 4:6 says this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Whereas Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
And we read in Matthew 6:6-7 these words: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
I am no expert, but this is what I think: God doesn’t get frustrated with the requests of his children. He knows our hearts and our fears and He wants us to come to Him for everything.
Even something we consider to be insignificant.
Even something we’ve already prayed about for 38 times.
And the more intimate we become with the Lord, the more our prayers begin to look like His desires for our lives.
Friend, I want to encourage you to open your heart before the Father. Pray with your whole heart, interceding for others with praise and thanksgiving, trusting that He hears our requests and that He will do what is best in each situation.
And the next time my kids won’t stop questioning, I will try to remember that my Father doesn’t get frustrated with my endless requests and questions. Instead, He responds with patience and lovingkindness and I want to respond in the same way.
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to prayer? I would love to hear from you!