Lately, I am having difficulty being specific with my prayers. I know the Lord wants to hear my needs and the cries of my heart, but it all sounds so selfish when I ask Him for what I think I need. Really, I have no idea what will best lead me to holiness, lead me to Him. Only He knows.
I can ask for healing for a friend's mother if it be His will, but I fail to ask God to help me not to yell and to help my sweet son sleep through the night. I am pretty sure I over analyze my requests. Part of me feels the yelling is up to me to stop, but, of course, I can do nothing without Christ, which is probably why I still holler orders across the house at my children! What if, right now, lack of sleep will lead me to holiness faster than a good night's sleep? It certainly gives me more opportunity to choose virtue in challenging situations (not that I choose it more often, just that the opportunity is there).
I am also constantly working on being grateful for my many blessings and content in the present moment. So, to pray for things to be different seems somehow to contradict this goal in my feeble mind. Yet, I cannot deny that being content with my own faults is contrary to unity with God. Being grateful for gifts and sufferings while asking for aid in overcoming faults and sufferings surely is a balanced prayer life.
Often I do not feel I know how to pray anymore, knowing that God knows what is best for me. My favorite prayer of late is simply repeating, "Jesus, I trust in you." He knows my heart; he knows me better than I know myself and knows what will lead each one of us to our salvation. I let Him lead.
But, I also must follow. I cannot sit idly by expecting Him to drag me along. That is the temptation, I think, of nonspecific prayer. Instead of decidedly walking in Christ's path, I wander aimlessly around, expecting to be guided as a blind woman. I am blind if I cannot see the way to Christ.
He cherishes each one of us and rejoices when we give Him our hearts, not one time, but daily over and over, exposing the vulnerability in making requests for what will delight us. True, He knows what is in our hearts, but the action of supplication unites us more closely to Him. For even Jesus asked Our Heavenly Father to let the cup pass from Him.
Is it as simple as ending each prayer with "thy will be done?" Perhaps. I believe it is more, though, about the disposition of our hearts. I simply am not at peace asking God for little things when there is so much need in this world. Obviously, He is asking me to grow in this way.
Lord, please help me to muster the courage within me to ask you for the desires of my heart. Just as I teach my children to make wish lists for their birthdays and Christmas without expecting to receive everything (or anything) on these lists, send your Holy Spirit to move my tongue to tell you my wishes. Even though you already know the list, I want to offer you the act of love of sharing it with you. I want to love you more!
Have you learned to make requests of God without feeling like you are rattling off a shopping list? If so, please share your wisdom!