Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Lists vs. Prayer Lists

My kids love to make Christmas lists. I did too. I remember laying on the orange, fuzzy carpet in my family room and pouring over the JCPenny catalog, writing down all my heart's desires. I didn't just write a list, I wrote a phone book! My kids are no different, only now they point at the endless TV commercials or ads on the computer.

It's all in fun, and they know they're not getting everything on their list. In fact, they don't even let me say it anymore, they stop me. "We know, Mom, a Christmas list isn't a check-off list." And honestly, they love whatever they receive. (Ok, they didn't used to, but they're getting older.)

This year it got me thinking how sometimes we approach God with our lists. We write down everything we want and hand it off in a prayer, and we do expect it to be a check-off list. But God's not Santa. Not even close. And prayer isn't about a list, it's about an active relationship that we take part in.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

Earnest means an intense mental state or an impressive amount. We approach God with our prayers in a serious way, engaging him and seeking him...not simply hand him a list and walk away. After all, he wants a relationship with us and prayer is our time to talk with him. Thank him. Praise him. Seek him. I'm not saying we can't have a prayer list. In fact, it's wonderful to keep a list of things you pray for and then note when those prayers have been answered. That's an account of the things God has done in your life and a reminder of things to give thanks for. It's an encouragement as you're still praying for other desires, deliverances, and needs. I am saying that your prayer life consists of more than that list. Prayer is knowing God's Word (which is our sword) and calling it out, applying it to our situation, believing with our faith (our shield) that God can and will do what he says he will do and fervently seeking him to be in the middle of our situation.

Prayer unleashes the power of Heaven.

It produces wonderful results.

And is so much more than a list to check twice.


  1. Love this!! It's SO weird too...because I was praying this morning. Something I've been trying to be more intentional about...or at least not so haphazard about. And it actually hit me, how often I approach prayer as just a list of "I wants, I needs, please God..." And read this post on top of it...awesome and ironic and probably not at all a coincidence. :)

  2. :) Love it when God arranges things:)