I am sure that I am not the only parent who wonders at what point your children will catch on to the “I WANT doesn’t GET” theory. “Good manners cost nothing” is another phrase that is bandied about, for your children to say please and thankyou when they are out in public or in someone else’s home is what most parents desire (I hope!). They may want a chocolate bar or the toy they have just seen on the shelf or the TV but do they actually need it?
There is a difference between the “seven deadly sins of desires” and “righteous desires”. I want to be a good dad/husband/christian/friend/brother/son/employee, and I am sure no-one would condemn me for wanting that, but when one want/desire overwhelms your time it becomes detrimental to your spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing! i.e. wanting to be a good employee so much that you become a workaholic, so your family life suffers and you do not make time to pray/read the bible/sit and wait for god to speak, so your spiritual life suffers. You need to ask yourself, “do I really need to stay an extra hour or would that hour be better tending to my family’s needs”
In some ways, spending too much time running around after your children/family is not good either! You may want to be helpful, or it may be your way of showing that you love them but doing so at the detriment of spending time with God or even giving yourself time to think!
We have unintentionally created a family version of the American thanksgiving meal, every meal my son wants everyone around the table to say thank you for something, which is great but it is funny to see other peoples faces drop when he says “STOP, we haven’t all prayed yet”, his prayer has developed from “Thank you for my trains” to “Thank you for my Gruffalo, my trains, for looking left and right so we don’t get run over and thank you for nanny, grandad, (the names of anyone else in the room at the time)”
I truly believe that we should thank god for things before we ask for our wants/needs. I once prayed for my wife’s headache and by the time I finished thanking God for a few things the pain was gone, I hadn’t even asked for healing yet! It says in Psalm 139 v23 that God knows what we desire, he knows what we are anxious about, so in a way we don’t actually need to request anything as he knows already!
When I was little, I used to pray over and over the same few words, which God always answered. But it wasn’t because I badgered God into submission like I tried to do with my parents, but because he knew I was desperate for it! About 6 years ago, my wife got food poisoning, we were staying in a South African village, an hour away from the nearest hospital! All I could do was thank god for bringing us there, blessing us and then I prayed for healing until the taxi arrived (it was struggling to get to us due to electrical problems, the headlights were flashing on and off). Once in the taxi, I felt like I was going to be sick so all I prayed was “thank you for Lord for looking after us, please don’t let me be sick!)
God cares about the little things, like headaches. I love the thought that “Things we consider to be mountains become only molehills when we look up and gaze upon Jesus!” So when you are stressed, sick, desperate or lost, STOP and ask for God’s help, he WANTS to and you NEED to!