What do I bring before God when I pray? Awe, gratitude, requests, confession, what’s on my mind, my heart…there are many things I can lay on the altar. But what do I bring God that doesn’t originate with Him? What do I bring that has value independent of God? Nothing.
My relationship with God is completely uneven. God is the provider of everything I need. I owe Him everything, and have nothing to give that can begin to “repay” Him. What a blow to my pride, my self-sufficiency! What is the point of pretending I have anything to bring before an all-knowing and all-powerful God? All of nothing is still nothing.
What do I bring before God when I pray? Awe for the beauty and power that inspires and uplifts me; gratitude for the blessings He has poured out so lavishly– life, health, family, joy, peace, grace, love… I bring requests, not idly, spewing them out to the wind or to random passers-by, but purposefully, to a God who hears. Confession, not coerced through torture, not met with unbearable punishment, but given freely in the knowledge that there is forgiveness and restoration on the other side of confession and repentance. I can bring thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, joys, pains, disappointments, and frustrations and lay them on the altar–not as a reluctant sacrifice of a servant, but as the outpouring of love from a child to her beloved Father.
I can’t out-give God. But that’s not a fault or a lack. Instead, it is the mind-blowing reality that God is able to GIVE abundantly above all that I can hope or imagine. And even though He needs nothing, He eagerly desires to share with me all the awe and wonder, all the beauty and grace, all the majesty and power of who He is, and to accept from me the joy and humble acceptance of His gifts–nothing more, and nothing less.
I could give God nothing– no time, no credit, no joy, no love. Instead, I want to choose to give all. Because even all of nothing is still ALL, thanks be to God!