Lately the girls have become a bit manipulative in their prayers. After a lengthy silent period where she insisted that "Brooklyn say it," Talia finally reopened the lines of divine communication yesterday with the following words: "Bless Daddy, bless Jesus, bless family go swimming pool." At dinnertime, Brooklyn prayed that we would have Fruit Loops for breakfast, go to the library, have a playdate with her friends, and yes, swim at the pool.
While kind of cute, on a deeper level these prayers feel somewhat presumptuous. After all, I'm the parent: I know best about what's most appropriate for the day's agenda. I enjoy hearing what my girls dream of doing, but that doesn't mean they will get sugar cereal for breakfast every day.
In reflecting on my daughters' prayers, I suddenly realized that perhaps my own prayer habits aren't so different after all. When I pray, do I dictate to Heavenly Father my plan about how things "should" work out? Is praying for a specific job opportunity, admission to a particular school, or selection for a special scholarship really all that different from praying for Fruit Loops and a playdate?
I don't think that Heavenly Father minds these prayers: just as I like knowing what my children really want, he cares about the sincere desires of our hearts. Nevertheless, it's important to qualify our prayers with "Not my will, but thine be done." Let's remember that he is the ultimate parent, and as such, he really does know best. He will grant us our righteous desires when such is in our best interest, but sometimes the answer is simply "no." In such moments of frustration, let's trust that he can see farther than we can.