I woke up this morning and the first thing that came out of my mouth was praise for God. It was just a few short years ago that my pretty wife would bounce out of bed and say Good Morning, Lord, and I would reluctantly stumble out of bed and say Good Lord, morning!
But as I studied the Word of God more and more I saw there was something I was missing..I had been failing to notice how very good God is to us. Like most people, my prayer life had pretty much been revolving around my own needs. You know what I mean…”My name is Jimmy, and I’ll take all you’ll gimme!” Now, it’s pretty hard to read the Bible and not be amazed at the goodness of God, but if you are like I was and pray continually for God to bless, give, bless, give, and bless some more, then you are too busy being tied up in your own self to even see what God is like.

It’s like seeing God as your own personal genie in the bottle, who exists soley to fill your needs and keep you blessed and healthy and happy. Rub the magic lantern, get what you want, and then put God back on the shelf until the next crisis arises. Most Christians who are doing this would never admit to it, but, it is happening all over the world. And maybe God realizes that if we never had needs, He would never hear from many of us. And of course, there are the faith confessions that we are saying each day in order to “see ourselves as God sees us”, but if we aren’t careful, even those reduce God to being our servant, instead of us being His servants.

 I said all that to say this; when we come to God in prayer, why are we doing it? Is it to get something? Or is it to express gratitude to God for all He has and is doing for us? Is it to come before Him in awe and wonder at His Holiness? Is it to worship God, because He is worthy to be worshipped?
Personally, it took a lot of growing up for me before I was able to pray for the right reasons, and that is to worship and praise God, or to pray for someone else’s needs, rather than my own. Yes, I still pray for my own needs, but not before I praise and worship God for His goodness. I don’t want God to dread hearing from me because I see Him as Mr. Supply, and I have a need or a want.
I’m being real blunt here. It hurts the heart of God to be used as a means to serve and supply our wants. Sometimes I feel the Holy Spirit is grieved by our selfishness. But God is so loving that He continues to bless us, regardless of how selfish we are. As a whole, mankind is very selfish. If you don’t think so, look at a couple 3 year old kids fighting over a toy, or look at all the quarrels in the world today.

And admitedly, there’s still far too much of it in me. I want to be warm and comfy, well fed, entertained, and catered to. How about you? I’m afraid my heart just isn’t as pure as Jesus’ heart is. He came to serve, not be served. I still have a way to go in that area. How about you? Could you serve a little more than you do? I could. I would even go on to say that I could stand to pray a little less for my own needs, and more for the needs of others, even though I spend considerable time in prayer for others. Notice that before I point my finger at you, I point it at myself as well.
Let me tell you a true story about myself. When I was a kid, my Mom and Dad would drop me off each week for about 3 hours at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house while they did their grocery shopping, so they wouldn’t have to take me to the store with them. And my Grandpa always had a little gift for me. So as soon as I got in the door, I’d ask, “What did you get me this week Grandpa?” One day, when I was maybe ten or eleven, I overheard Grandpa say, “I wish Jerry loved us because of who we are, instead of for what we give him.” That kind of struck home with me. I saw myself for what I really was, a selfish brat, and it felt terrible, and rightly so. The next week when Mom and Dad dropped me off, I went in the door and said, Hi, Grandma and Grandpa, I love you! And I didn’t even ask what they got me. It was the only time I ever saw my Grandpa cry. He gave me a big hug and smiled and I never asked again what they had for me, but yet, they always had something nice for me after that, even nicer than before. It was a couple years ago the Lord reminded me of that time with Grandma and Grandpa, and He told me to tell others about it. And for good reason.

When you go to the Lord and say, “Hi God, it’s me again!” does He get a smile on His face and perk up His ears at the sound of your voice? Or does He kind of slump down in the throne, prop His head up on His hand and stare at the ceiling while you make your faith confessions and go down your list of “gimme, gimme, gimme”?
I found out something wonderful….when we seek the heart and face of God, His hand is always open to us. If I could teach you only one lesson that you would hold onto till the end of your life, it would be this: God is so worthy of our worship, our awe and extreme reverence. He is Holy, Wonderful, Precious, and there is no other God but Him. Our prayers should always start with worship and reverence for His Holiness. He is aware of our needs even before we ask. Our life on earth is short. Don’t waste it saying “Lord, give me…” Instead, say, “Hi Lord, it’s me again…I don’t want to ask You for a thing, I just wanted to say I love you!”
If you will take the time to do that right now, you will feel the warmth of God’s smile upon you this very minute.