Far be it from me to give a quick grammar lesson, but here it goes for those who are years beyond recalling information from bonehead English class.
Adjectives are words that describe things. e.g.: the cotton candy tasted sweet.
Adverbs are similar in that they describe things with how, when, why; typically ending with an –ly. e.g.: The taste of cotton candy sweetly filled my mouth.
Okay, before I lose anyone and a grammar teacher tells me I have no proper concept of the English language, let me stop while I’m still ahead and get on to the topic at hand: Praying in ways that gets God’s attention.
As a child, my prayers were simple. Truly child-like. Before going to bed I would say, “God, thank you for Mommy and Daddy. I love Peppee. I’m sorry I fight with Doug. Help Grandpa and Grandma and Peter and Erin. Amen.”
Now what I really meant was that I was thankful for the cookies Mom made, and for the new dress she sewed for me, and that Dad put the training wheels BACK on my bike, and I liked playing with our little white poodle Peppee, my brother and I fought a lot, Grandpa had heart issues, it made Grandma sad, I really liked Peter from preschool and wanted to play with him at recess and hoped he would come to my birthday party, and I liked my playmate Erin who lived down the street but sometimes she was mean and I just wanted friendship and didn’t understand why she acted like she did, what would Jesus do, etc… WHEW !!!
Okay you get the picture. My simple 4-year-old prayer had a lot going on behind it. Yet God knew exactly what was going on; I never considered the need to fluff up the prayer with all the details, adjectives, and adverbs. But now I’m older, wiser, and I feel compelled to let God know exactly what is going on, just incase He isn’t 100% up-to-speed on the situation. I give Him names, first and last, relationship updates, I describe the issues with lots of adverbs and adjectives – because God needs to know I mean business and have a lot of details and I really need Him to pay attention. So I talk a lot.
Then the other day I wondered if God ever thinks, “Sherry, can you cut the crap and just get to the point already? Remember those 4-year-old prayers, I liked those. Don’t worry about the details, I actually know a little more than you give Me credit for.”
Hummm. This got me thinking. Do I need to cut out all the fluff, does the weight of my prayer have less to do with all the words and more to do with my heart? Does God give my heart-felt three-word-prayer (“God, help me”) just as much attention as my lengthy going on-and-on prayer? Do I need to stop giving God a multiple-choice list of ideas on how to fix things, because I’m arrogant enough to think that I have some ideas that He might have not thought of, and He needs to know I’ve given a lot of thought, heart and soul to the matter? Do I limit God with my list? Or should I just leave the solutions up to Him?
Is it really as simple as, “God help ______, Your will be done”?
UPDATE: Or in light of recent events, “God please have your loving hand in the mess of Haiti.”
I don’t have the answers, but if this is right, prayer time is gonna get a lot shorter at my weekly Small Group…
Do you pray “short” or do you add lots of adjectives, adverbs and solutions? Seriously, what do you think?
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