A belated Christmas card arrived in the mail this week. It was from a female inmate whom I’ve been corresponding with during the past year. Her handwriting was bold and neat. She wished me well, thanked me for sending her a package of Christmas cards with postage last month, and after her signature, she added a postscript:
“Could you please send stamps?”
“Why am I not surprised?”
As a volunteer jail chaplain, I teach Bible to women inmates, and on occasion, I correspond with some of them when they go away to prison. I understand their need for positive relationships and spiritual encouragement while they’re behind bars. It’s a mutual blessing.
But this woman never ends her letters without requesting something from me.
Sometimes I feel she’s taking advantage of me. Even Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
But on this particular day, her request for stamps struck a nerve.
How often do I pray to my Heavenly Father, without adding my laundry list of needs and wants?
“I love you Lord, thank you Lord, but could you please send: a job, healing, financial aid, help, wisdom, success, new car….”
I KNOW God wants Christians to “devote ourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). His Word says “pray without ceasing” for the details of our day including: our daily bread, to avoid temptation, forgiveness, when we’re suffering, for each other, for those who persecute us.
“Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
However, because God cares for me, shouldn’t I also seek God for Himself alone; with no personal agenda than being in His presence?
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:4, 5)
The Christmas card is now taped over my desk as a reminder:
Spend more time praising God and less time saying,
“Please send ….”