Saturday, September 04, 2010


When my newest grandson Tommy was baptized in August, we all trooped to St. Andrew of the Apostle Church in Chandler, Arizona, for Sunday morning services.

It’s very rare that I ponder . . . and contemplate . . . and mull over . . . a sermon topic for weeks after the sermon has been delivered. In fact, most of the time I couldn’t pass the “what-was-the-sermon-about?” test taken five minutes after the sermon ends. But that day, maybe because of the specialness of Tommy’s baptism day, I did remember the message.

The pastor said, “When you pray, don’t tell God your problem and then outline to Him how you would like your problem solved. Just tell Him your problem—and then stop. S-T-O-P. Stop.” He went on to give the example of someone who had lost a job and prayed, “Dear God, I lost my job. Please send me a bucketful of money and dump it in my lap.” Or how about, “Dear God, I am worried about my son. Please make his bad-influence friends disappear off the face of the earth and give him a scholarship to Harvard.”

I'm just so full of ideas about how to solve my own problems. I just lack the wherewithal (i.e., the magic wand and pixie dust) to solve them myself. So I like to sit back and place my order to God about how I would like things taken care of—kind of like the drive-up window at Burger King. (“And I’ll have fries with that.”)

The pastor assured us that it is okay to mention our problems to God. In fact, he encouraged it. But then we need to STOP! God's plan does not necessarily involve a short-term bucketful of money or a scholarship to Harvard—or even fries.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this wrong: “Please, God, my dad is really ill and frail, so would you please . . .” (fill in the blank with my very specific directions, which vary from day to day, but usually involve turning water into wine and walking on water).

And then when my insightful directions are not followed, I get all disappointed and annoyed. What good does it do to pray when He doesn’t do what I ask? After all, who knows better than I do how to fix the world or solve my own problems?

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been carrying this sermon around in my head. Who knows, maybe it will sink in to my control-freak brain and someday I will just automatically share my problem and STOP. His will be done.

Maybe I’m not too old and set in my ways to learn to let go and let someone else take charge for a change.


Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't hear the sermon but it is the same thing I keep telling myself--accept the will of God. I do for a while and then all of a sudden I am back there demanding my way. After going through this with Dad, I don't feel the same about prayer anymore. eg-Prayer changes things. (now I realize-only my attitude to accept His will changes or Pray without ceasing--because I NEED to talk to him every day many times a day NOT that if I bug HIM enough, he'll see it my way) Oh yeah--every day is a day of learning. Grandma Nettie

Anonymous said...

Amen----I know that once I turned my life to HIS control, it got better. So perhaps HE is not answering your requests to teach you a lesson. Just keep writing--as I do believe you are a handiwork of HIS! Walk--pray--and write----

2to4aday said...

Anonymous: I love your thought--"walk, pray, and write!"

Maybe we could make a movie about it, starring Julia Roberts. Instead of visiting Italy, India, and Indonesia to "Eat, Pray, and Love," I could visit Iowa, Isanti, and Itasca to walk, pray, and write. I think that we might have something here!! :)

Elaine said...

My dear, why are you always writing about the things going on in my life on the day I read your blog?

bd said...

This is a fine edulog. Excellent sermon. Thought of you singing "Have thine own way, Lord" this AM. "Wounded and weary, Help me, I pray". Life is about patience my sister in law once said.....

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Thank you for sharing this bit of wisdom. So good to read. I will have to redirect my problem solving techniques to other areas in my life.