When I was in second grade, our Sunday school lesson was about the gift of God. I was so moved by how much God loves us, that I came home wanting to give God a gift in return.
Searching the house for something that I could decorate and give to God, I found an old wooden table on the back porch of our house. It was rickety and weathered by exposure to years of rain, sun and frigid temperatures. Its chipped and peeling blue paint made it the perfect gift for me to decorate and give to God.
Rummaging through my mother’s box of bows and ribbons salvaged from previous birthday parties and Christmas presents, I found three spools of grosgrain ribbon, pink, green and white.
For the next hour, ribbon after ribbon was cut and tied around the legs of the table. I knew God would love this table. In my mind, the table would have a place of honor beside the throne, and God would rest His Holy elbow on it after a hard day at work.
When I had finished my table I knew it was perfection, and God would love it. Carefully I carried my gift to the middle of the yard, just to make it easy for the angels to carry it up to heaven. Then, my knees bent in that cold November grass and I sent my prayer to God.
“Thank you for your gift of Jesus. I don’t know if anyone gives you gifts but I want you to have this table. I love you. Amen.”
The next morning I jumped out of bed like it was Christmas morning and ran barefoot to the back yard to see if the table had been taken in the night.
Right where I left it the night before, sat the blue table for God. Mom, seeing me through the kitchen window, walked out. Wiping her hands with a kitchen towel she asks, “Is everything alright? Why is this table in the middle of the yard?”
With head lowered, I shrugged.
Then, picking up the table with its dew soaked ribbons, I carried the table to the porch and got ready for school.
Prayer is, at best, a great mystery. Why would God call us to pray? He made it all, he owns it all, he can do it all – why involve us?
Despite a blanket of mystery wrapped around prayer, there are some things we know for certain. Prayer is deep connecting to deep. It is the Holy Spirit given to us at salvation, connecting in a very intimate way with God.
Prayer strengthens our relationship with God and feeds us with spiritual food. Prayer helps us to bond with God; the way intimacy with our husbands helps us bond together in marriage.
Sometimes it can seem as if God has failed to hear our prayers, and if He did hear, then He didn’t respond according to our prayer. It can feel as if God doesn’t care, or hear.
If we misunderstand the purpose of prayer, it will be easy for us feel like an outsider with God. Like we are less important than others who have their prayers answered in miraculous ways.
It is after we have connected with God in prayer, that we make our requests for change in the world. Then, another mystery occurs, God begins to change the way we look at the world. We begin to see it through His eyes, with great love and compassion.
Once the change begins in us, then He prepares us to go and be the a part of the change we have prayed for. He listens and knows our deepest longings.
One of the greatest mysteries about prayer, is that God listens to us.
My blue table symbolized my desire for God to answer my prayer my way. Love for Him was my heart’s desire, but I wanted Him to respond as I had determined He should. Maturity in the Lord comes when we recognized that our personal realationship with the Lord is much more important than our requests. He knows our heart because he listens to all that we are saying, even when words are not used.
This post only scratches the surface of prayer. Today, let’s leave on the altar our blue tables and begin come to God in prayer, to simply know Him more.
What is the blue table in your prayer life? Can you surrender it to God today to know Him more?