The List

Here are two good rules for living: 

Never go to the grocery store when you are hungry. 

Never go to the grocery store without a list. 

I am the worst offender. When my wife says, “Can we stop at the store on our way home?” she knows she does it at great risk to our pocketbook. I think she secretly prefers I wait in the car. 

As I follow her into the store, my “gotta have” meter rises. She works her list and my eyes wander. “Black currant jam! We have not had that in a while!” “Wheat thins! Wheetabix! Chips! Ice Cream!” As we work our way through the store, I attempt to (a) sneak something into the cart or (b) justify why we need it. Turns out we have had black currant jam at home for months and we do not need any ice cream. I got away with the Wheat Thins. I think it was out of pity. 

Lists are important. They help keep us focused on what we need and what we do not need. I still remember it like it was yesterday. They were just names on a sheet of paper. We put their names on the sheet of paper and brought it out each week. We prayed for them. The paper held no magic. It was just a reminder of the commitment we had made to pray. We prayed for the men on the list and we did not pray for other things. Maybe we needed more prayer for our selves, but we focused on the list. We never asked for some things that we could have during the time of prayer, but we got some of them anyway. It did not matter. The list mattered because it represented people’s souls.  God did a work as we prayed. Not for all on the list, but for some.  

Perhaps you have a day timer or iPhone or PDA. They are great for making lists. Can we encourage you to jot down a few names? Jot down names of people you love, people for whom you would like a better life.  They could be names of co-workers or maybe even names of relatives. That could be quite a list.  Then when you are in that quiet moment you won't have to wonder what to pray for. You will have your list.

What about the “going to store when you are hungry” part? Well there is where we get a bit paradoxical. Eat a little something before you go to the store but it is fine to come hungry to prayer. Worship Well.