No Bad Ornaments

      Comments Off on No Bad Ornaments

To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here
Once again this year, our Christmas tree is overloaded with ornaments that our kids made when they barely knew how to use scissors or color within the lines.
I’m pretty sure that our grown-up children, who are now in their 30s and 40s, could do a whole lot better. 
Does that mean we should abandon their first artistic efforts, so we can clear space on the tree for some really classy decorations? 
Speaking as a parent, not one of our kids ever came home and said, “Here, Mommy, here, Daddy,” and then handed us a bad ornament. 
In the same way, it’s impossible for us to come to our heavenly Father and pray a bad prayer. 
What does God want for us?  Only that we would set before him what is actually in us right now…not what we think ought to be in us – even though someday, by God’s grace, we may be able to make a greater offering of ourselves.
As Richard Foster points out in his book Prayer, there are no “deep secrets” regarding how we should converse with our Father in heaven.  
Obsession with polish and sophistication puts us in danger of missing the very point of baring our souls before God.
As the apostle Paul insists, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). 
What if our prayers keep getting interrupted by other thoughts? 
What if we try to talk to God and our minds drift immediately to someone who owes us money, or to that touchdown that was called back by a penalty, or to lurid images, or to the person we’ve not yet been able to forgive? 
God is a very big God.  He can handle what’s really inside us.
Ultimately, as we persist in simply and prayerfully presenting the ordinary details of our lives to God, there will come about what Foster calls a Copernican revolution in our hearts.
That’s the discovery that God isn’t so much a part of our lives, as we are a part of his life.
Whatever prayer you bring to God today, you can know this:
If God had a Christmas tree, your ornament would be on it.