Learning Prayer From My Annoying As Heck Kids

My kids are really annoying.

There. I said it. I know that parents aren’t supposed to vocalize such vulgar attitudes, but that’s how I feel. I know that parenting is a privilege, and all that jazz. But sometimes I feel like parenting is for the birds.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids more than my own life. I would take a bullet to the head for any of my kids. I am so grateful to God for my three little girls. They are incredibly precious to me.

But they are also incredibly annoying to me.

One of the primary annoyances is the requests. ALL. THE. REQUESTS. Every request known to man kind.

It begins at 7:00 AM. “Dad, can I have a chocolate granola bar?”

For the next 12-13 hours, I am assaulted with a constant, never-ceasing flow of requests. “Dad, can I…watch a show, play outside, have some goldfish, make a craft, have a drink of your coffee, buy a trampoline, watch Star Wars?”

giphy

My kids have no sense of propriety when it comes to making requests. No sense of the rightness or wrongness of a request. They’re just constantly pouring out their desires to me, without any evaluation of whether or not they should be asking.

“I just spent $40 so we could all go out to dinner together. Now you’re asking for ice cream?”

Of course, I would never tell my children to stop asking me for things. I love them. No matter how annoying it becomes, I always want them to bring their requests to me. I don’t want them evaluating the quality of their requests before they approach me. The fact that I’m their father gives them free access at all all times of day (and I do mean all times). 

Recently, I was spending some time in prayer, and I realized just how unworthy I was to be requesting things from God. I can’t remember the specific reason for my unworthiness. It could have been the evil thoughts I regularly have about other people. It could have been the curse words that course through my head (and occasionally out my mouth). It doesn’t matter. I just knew that I had no right asking anything of God.

I was a mess, and I knew it.

And then God spoke to me.

Not audibly, of course. I’m not a prophet. But he spoke to me, nonetheless.

I very distinctly felt God remind me:

You’re my child. It’s not about the rightness or wrongness of the request. It’s not about whether you deserve anything from me. It’s about your relationship to me. Your children know they can ask for anything at any time. They don’t evaluate whether they’ve earned the right to ask. They know that you’ll give good gifts to them because of your love for them.

Yes.

Amen.

I come to God with all my mess and sin and falling apart-ness, and I lay my requests at his feet. I bring my broken, sometimes laughable requests to God.

Then I wait expectantly for the answer, knowing that if something is good, God will give it to me. Knowing that he’s my Father. Knowing that, because I am in Christ, he loves me and wants me to bring my requests to him.

My relationship to God changes the way I ask God for things.

I don’t ask for things like an employee asking a boss. I ask as a son asking a father. I ask repeatedly. I ask constantly. I don’t evaluate the “quality” of the request. I don’t evaluate whether I’m worthy, because I know I’m not. I simply ask, knowing that he’s my Father, and he’ll take care of me.

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:-10)

Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer, & Mixed Martial Arts Salsa Dancing Champion. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like.