What happens when I pray wrong?

1 Comment January 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

My friend recently left a comment that reminded me of a time when my children were just little. Our son was learning our family’s table rules. At that time, and all the way until today, our kids have not been allowed to leave the table until they have acknowledged their thanks for the food and asked to be excused.

We were visiting my friend’s house for lunch one day. We were busy chatting and visiting, and the kids were eating and talking almost as loudly as we were. It was a great lunch time. Then all of a sudden there was a lull in the conversation until a tiny, little voice was heard.

“Mama, may I please be a goose?” His sweet face and earnest expression nearly made my heart melt. I couldn’t for the life of me, though, figure out why he’d want to be a goose! Until I realized, after a few seconds of staring blankly at my son, that he’d been ‘mishearing’ us all along. He was really saying, “Mama, may I please be excused?” (If you say it fast and pretend you’re a toddler I think you’ll hear it, too.)

When my friend brought this to my mind not so long ago it stirred something deep in my heart. You see, there are times when you and I pray for things we believe we really want. We say the things we think we should be saying, and pray the things we assume our hearts really desire.

I’m so glad, though, that God knows us and His will better than we ever will. I knew that my son didn’t really want to be a goose, I answered his request (not his words) and excused him from the table. In that same way, God knows what our deepest longings are, the groaning and aching of our heart and when we don’t get it quite right the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26-27, NLT

We can rest assured that the Father of Love hears our prayers, knows our hearts and gives us His best… even when we don’t know what we’re asking for.

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