In our prayers, we often ask God to:
- “Make it rain.”
- “Stop the rain.”
- “Stop the draught.”
- “Stop the flood.”
- “Heal the sick.”
- “Bless the refreshments.”
- “Bless the sick and afflicted.”
- And on and on ….
Sometimes we treat God like our butler, errand boy, or cosmic concierge. We constantly ask Him for “favors” and “blessings.“
We often ask Him to do things for us that we can, and should, do for ourselves.
We “pass the buck“, when we ask Him to help others, when it is within our power to minister to them.
In church prayers we ask: “Bless the sick and afflicted.” Wouldn’t it be better if we prayed: “Help us to be aware of the sick and afflicted so that we might minister to their needs?”
We pray in sacrament meeting: “Bless those who aren’t here this time that they may come next time.” Wouldn’t it be better to pray: “Help us to be mindful of those who need transportation or an invitation to come to church, so that they may join us?”
Another case in point, we pray at firesides: “Bless the refreshments that they will nourish us.” The Lord can work miracles. If He can turn water into wine, I suppose He can turn red punch, cookies, and green Jello into something nourishing.
But wouldn’t it be better if we prepared nourishing refreshments in the first place instead of asking the Lord to make them nourishing. Or, pray: “Bless the refreshments, that they will serve their purpose of refreshing us and providing the opportunity for us to socialize with one another.” (This was a actual youth prayer.)
Sometimes, when I ask the Lord to do something for me, the still small voice whispers, “Do it yourself.”
Perhaps we should spend more time expressing our gratitude for His goodness, gifts, and grace, and less time adding to the divine “to do” list.
We need to keep in mind, “God is not our butler!”
(Special thanks to Shane Traveller for his insights on “passing the buck.”)