The Answer to Overwhelm
From the moment we started having kids, I knew I did NOT want them to be whiny. Who does? Yet, as they got older, I started hearing phrases like, Mom, I’m bored. I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. . . Mom, Mom, MOM!”
Complaints! Not fun at ALL.
So, one day I said, “Kids, I’m not going to answer your complaints, but I’ll answer your requests. Don’t complain about what you lack. Just ask me for what you need.”
I admit this was pretty radical parenting. Apart from bleeding knees and emergencies, when my kids complained, I would NOT act. Instead, I'd respond with something like, “Mom doesn’t respond to complaints. Can you please turn your complaint into a request?”
Though it took LOTS of friendly (and not so friendly) reminders, my children began to understand the difference.
Complaints vs. Requests.
Great parenting idea, right? But now it was my turn... In my life, I had been frustrated by a lack of God’s movement. I needed direction but felt discouraged by His seeming distance. I would pray, yet felt powerless. Knowing better than to run from God, I turned to a familiar verse to comfort my anxious heart.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
But wait. Had that always been there? Present your REQUESTS to God.
At that moment, I realized what I had called praying was in fact complaining to God about what was wrong: I was saying phrases like, “God, I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I don’t know what to do.”
But Philippians says, “Present your REQUESTS.”
Wasn’t this the very lesson I'd been teaching my own children? I'd been saying, “Kid, don’t complain about what you lack! Just ASK me for what you need.” Yet, these words contained the very message God was whispering into my ear. I knew it was time to stop complaining and start asking. And, with that small change, my prayers were ignited with His Spirit and faith!
Prayer is an expectant ASKING for what we need, not a faithless recounting of COMPLAINTS. A faith-filled prayer trusts and rests in God’s loving character, knowing He will answer in His perfect way and time! It is the answer to overwhelm.
Today, ask yourself: Have my prayers been limited to complaints? Do I only tell God my problems? How different would my prayers (and my life) be if I stopped complaining, acknowledged Him as the source, and asked Him for what I need?
Our Father longs to give good things to those who ASK. So ASK, keep asking, and present your requests to God! (Matt. 7:7, 11, Phil. 4:6)