Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Unanswered

When I was a little girl, I wanted a pony.  I know, who didn’t, right?  But, I really, really wanted one.  I faithfully asked Santa Claus, God, and Dad for a pony every Christmas for at least five years.  Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were my heroes in those days.  I tried to convince my Dad that the pony could live in the garage and eat the grass in the yard.  I imagined the money we could raise at our backyard ‘Penny Carnivals’ giving pony rides to the kids.   And normally, being the baby of the family, I could often get my own way on these things.  But not on the pony.  It didn’t happen.  Dad would not budge.  You probably didn’t get one either, did you?

Looking back, I realize there were some good reasons my dad didn’t give in on the pony issue.  I’m sure it had to do with our living arrangements at the time.  Our middle-class, small-town neighborhood would not be very receptive to a pony, after all.  The ‘by-products’, shall we say, of  such a large animal would not have been a pleasant experience for our nearest neighbors.  They barely tolerated the fact that we had a dog — especially when he ate their tulips right before Easter.  And no doubt, there were zoning laws about having farm animals in a residential area (or would be, as soon as our neighbors caught wind of it — pun intended).  After all, no one else on Pioneer Street had anything closely resembling a pony, unless you counted the large Boxer across the street.

Perhaps more importantly, however, my dad understood the bigger issue.  Having been raised in the Midwest, he knew a thing or two about horses and farm animals.  (You don’t want to hear his thoughts about chickens!)  He understood that living in the garage and eating grass would not have met the physical requirements of a pony.  Despite my persistent requests, he understood the deeper needs.  The cramped confines of a tiny backyard lot would have represented cruel treatment for an animal that longed for acres of wide-open space and green pastures.  Our concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets were not designed for the hooves of a pony, no matter how romantic I thought the ‘clip-clop’ would sound.  He could see a much bigger picture than my young mind wanted to comprehend.  That perception wisely overrode his desire to grant my childhood wishes.

Phillip Yancey, in his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? , talks about understanding God’s perspective when we pray.  He compares it to climbing a mountain and seeing the beginnings of a stream that makes its way down the hillside.  “Grace, like water, descends to the lowest part. Streams of mercy flow. I begin with God, who bears primary responsibility for what happens on earth and ask what part I can play in God’s work on earth…. With this new starting point for prayer, my perceptions change.’ *

My requests and prayers have hopefully outgrown the ‘pony’ stage.  Yet, at times, they may seem to be just as immature to my Heavenly Father, who sees the whole picture.  He knows the greater need, He understands the entire situation.  When I catch a glimpse of this life from His perspective, my entire focus will change, as will my prayers.  When I realize that He sees the bigger picture, I can rest in the assurance of His loving care.

Jesus told us, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or, if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, who much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

Happy trails to you!

*Yancy, Philip, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?  (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), Page 23.

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio.  Permission is granted to share this work with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.  (You can share this, but tell folks who wrote it, where you found it, and don’t sell it)

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