“THAT IS WHAT I ORDERED!”

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order [my] [prayer] to You and [eagerly] watch. Psalm 5:3 NASB

After having bought and then wrapped an abundance of gifts, everything was finally ready.  The grandchildren’s Amazon lists had been finalized, and the plethora of packages had arrived..  Sometimes one by one, but more often, a collection of boxes came all at once.  Having seven grandchildren accounted for many of the packages.  It had taken weeks of planning and preparation to get to this point.  We were delighted to have the whole family together for an entire day.  The Christmas tree twinkled, and the smell of breakfast filled the house.  The anticipated cinnamon rolls were in the oven, and the coffee was just finishing up its final drip.  Oh, the house smelled and looked wonderfully delightful!  Christmas was unquestionably in the air.

As everyone gathered near the tree, the excitement in the room was unmistakable.  Papa opened the Bible and read the well-known and well-loved story of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke.  A tradition everyone had come to expect.  And just like that, when he read the final word, the room went from being attentive and quiet to anarchy and chaos.  The grandkids helped to pass out the gifts and the promise of what was in the packages exploded in activity..  Patience was no longer permitted or tolerated.  The gift opening moment had finally arrived.

As each child opened his or her gifts, thank you’s and hugs were liberally passed around.  And then we heard the first grandchild exclaim, “this is what I ordered!”   And from that moment on, those 5 words were said by little voices as the gifts were unwrapped with record speed.  “Yup, this is what I ordered!”  “Thank you, Oma and Papa, this is exactly what I ordered!”

You see, the grandchildren were so used to seeing their parents place orders online and have the order somehow appear at the door, they confused “ordering” with their wish list requests.  All they knew was that they asked for a particular toy, and that is what they got. They mistook their request for a done deal.

But now and then, a delightful squeal followed the unwrapping of a gift. We had taken a risk getting something we thought looked fun: something that hadn’t been “ordered.” A gift had been received and appreciated, even though it had not been on the official wish list.   Occasionally, the gift we gave was better than any gift the grandkids had envisioned getting.  Sheer joy was the reaction of such an unimagined surprise.

I have often thought about this situation when I consider how to pray.  It is so tempting to confuse my prayer requests for an “order” that I am sending up to heaven.  An “order” which shows God that I know what is best.  “An order” spoken in such a way that I am telling God how to deal with my situation.  “God, heal this person, make this person’s way easy, make this virus go away, provide a new job for this person…”. I have often wondered if in my praying, I am missing the great joy of seeing God give an answer I could not have anticipated?  Like my grandchildren, I tend to be best satisfied with what I have ordered, never leaving room for God to do the miraculous only he can envision. Shouldn’t my prayers be in anticipation of God’s creative and inspirational answers to the many problems I pray about?

When David wrote these words in Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order [my] [prayer] to You and [eagerly] watch.” He wasn’t telling God what to do or how to do it.  He wasn’t placing an order, but he was laying out, arranging in order his needs before God.  He was systematically setting out before God, what was on in his heart, and what his needs were.   And then David eagerly waited to see what wonderful surprise God had in store for him.  He waited to see what creative and unimaginable thing God would do with his need.  David laid out his needs, opened his hands completely, and watched with anticipation to see how God would act and what he would do.  David knew that God knew best what the answer to any problem was.  He knew God could imagine and conceive things he could not.  He knew his heavenly father would come up with a far better solution to his needs than he ever could.  David had learned to expectantly look up to heaven to see what unimagined surprise God had in store.

I want to follow David’s example and pray prayers with open hands, watching and waiting with expectancy and anticipation to see what wonderful answers my heavenly father will supply.  Let’s learn from David. Let’s learn how to watch with expectancy as God provides his answer to our prayers.  

“Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.” Charles Spurgeon

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