“God delights to give gifts that bring His children joy.” – Lori Hatcher, Refresh Your Prayers.
Do you find it difficult to talk to God in prayer? Lori Hatcher, author of the book, Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise, suggests we start by examining our perceived relationship with God. Do we see God as a tyrannical master or as a clueless indulgent grandfather? Neither, Lori explains in her chapter, “Praying as a Beloved Child.” When we understand that God perceives us as His beloved child, prayer will flow easier for us.
This week, I’d like to share this chapter from Lori’s new book, Refresh Your Prayers.
Praying as a Beloved Child
by Lori Hatcher
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4
In a scene from Charles Dickens’s novel, Oliver Twist, dozens of orphaned boys sleep side by side in a long barrack. One boy, however, isn’t sleeping. He paces the rows between the beds, clutching his growling belly.
“Lie down,” one of his bunkmates grumbles. “You’re keeping us all awake.”
“I can’t,” he says. “I’m so hungry I’m afraid I might eat the boy beside me.”
All the boys are hungry, so they devise a plan—one will ask for an additional serving of gruel at the end of the next meal. If he receives a favorable reply, the rest will also ask for additional food to satisfy their gnawing stomachs.
Oliver draws the short thread. At the next meal, he gobbles his meager ration and gathers his courage. The room grows silent as he makes the long walk to the head of the table. His spoon clatters in his bowl, betraying his trembling hands.
He feels the dining-room monitor’s angry glare before he sees it. Who would dare break ranks and approach unsummoned?
“Please, sir,” Oliver says, raising his beseeching eyes and his empty bowl, “I’d like some more.”
The man’s eyes widen at the audacity of his request.
He lifts his cane and brings it down hard on the boy’s back. Oliver flees, reprimanded for daring to ask for more than the minimum.
I’ve never been a starving, neglected child, but some days I pray like one.
I confidently approach my heavenly Father to ask for food, clothing, and necessities on the basis of Matthew 6:31–32: “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
I assume, rightly so, that it’s okay to ask for what I need. First Timothy 6:8 tells us, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
But because this verse encourages me to be content with what God supplies, I feel guilty about asking Him for anything more. I don’t expect a cane to fly out of heaven and beat me, but I do fear God’s disapproving gaze.
“What?! What?! You ungrateful wretch. I’ve given you so much, and you dare to ask for more?”
I’ve come to realize, however, that this view of God is as warped as the philosophy that teaches the other extreme—that God wants to give everyone a Hummer, a mansion, and a million dollars. One view portrays God as a genie in a bottle who exists to fulfill my every wish.
The other view portrays God as a miser who grudgingly dispenses only what I need to survive.
Both views are unbiblical and dangerous.
As I’ve learned more about God’s heart and His nature, my tendency to pray minimalistic prayers has changed. The Bible reveals God as a Father who loves to give good gifts (not just gruel) to His children (James 1:17). He’s a God who created all things for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17) and who encourages us to “open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).
God delights to give gifts that bring His children joy. He invites us to ask Him to provide what we yearn for. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This doesn’t mean God will give us everything our hearts selfishly desire, as if we have a charge card with no limit. Instead, as we seek to know Him, learn His ways, follow His precepts, and find our deepest satisfaction in Him, we’ll begin to desire the things He desires. Moreover,
He’ll strengthen and confirm the godly desires He planted in our hearts when He created us.
Because He knows us best, we can trust Him with our needs and wants. We can come to God in prayer as a beloved child, finding confidence and fullness of joy.
We can bring all our needs and wants to God in prayer, knowing we are beloved children with a lavish Father.
Oh, Father, thank you for the freedom you have granted me to come boldly before your throne to ask you to meet my needs. And then, Father, you’ve also given me the freedom to ask you for more than just my needs. I can bring my hopes, dreams, and longings to you, knowing you will filter my requests through your fingers of love and give me exactly what I need to be in the center of your will. Thank you for allowing me to approach you in prayer as your beloved child. I love you. Amen.
Live It Out
Think about how you approach God in prayer. Do you feel free to bring your needs to God but hesitant to ask for your wants? Do you view Him as a miser who doles out the bare minimum or as a generous Father who loves to give good gifts to His children? Look up the verses referenced in this devotion and ask God to show you His heart toward you.
Taken from Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise by Lori Hatcher© 2022. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread Publishing®, Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Our Daily Bread Publishing® at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lori Hatcher is a pastor’s wife who lives delightfully close to her four grandchildren in Lexington, South Carolina. She’s the author of several devotional books including Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise. She’s also a blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Refresh . Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest(Hungry for God).
Join the Giveaway
How has God shown His delight in you as His beloved child? Leave a comment below and we’ll enter you into a drawing to receive a free copy of Lori’s new book, Refresh Your Prayers.