Beyond the shopping list


”Jesus said to his disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:23-27

What? “Ask for anything in my name – It’s yours – I may not ask.” What?

There are times I read the bible and wonder if the dusty peeps who penned this stuff were sometimes high on the Holy Spirit. And while I was going around in such circles – He asked me to write down all the names my lovely lady and soul-mate has. So I had a think and came up with eight names. Eight names – at least! Try it with someone you love – I never knew Mrs Paul (doh … that makes nine) had so many names.

Well – that was an interesting interlude. What now God?

Which of those names do you use when you “want something” from Mrs Paul – Paul?

Whoa dear Jesus Christ – that sounds very mercenary. When “I want something” – which name do “I use”? That’s not the way we are. We share a desire, a thought, an ambition, something important, something that isn’t, stuff that is “us” – not my “shopping list” stuff.

Nevertheless, Paul – that is still “stuff that you want” is it not?

Are we going to play this game all day, Lord? Twenty Questions? Until you get the yes or no you want?

I thought we were talking about your wants, not mine.

Distraction dear Father – distraction! Playing dirty again – not fair.

Fun, dear Paul – fun. Very fair. Now about your shopping list …

Wow GSHJ, you are in a feisty mood today! OK. I’ll play the game. For the purposes of keeping you sweet, my “shopping list” is my wants – except when Mrs Paul and I talk she is the one who usually offers me “a want” in the “shopping list” way You are describing.

Cool. Are we done here?

What …

I guess we have talked this out. Haven’t we?

What … ?

(In the “old days” I would shout, stomp, disagree, look at Him with a jaundiced eye, add it to the list of “being a Christian is hard work”, all that “just give me a simple answer” stuff. Now when He says we are done, I re-run the conversation to see what I have missed.)

🙂 🙂 🙂 Can you hear old Grumpy giggling? Doing that innocent “just sitting here checking My nails” routine. The blissful “What ME … ?” That look of “butter wouldn’t melt” – that loving “I have done My bit – what can’t you see?” routine, 🙂 🙂 🙂

So now I look back at old Mr Innocent and see how many names I used in our little conversation – lots. I listen again and hear myself talking about a shopping list being an “us list” for the good of us both. I hear me telling Mr Grumpy that Mrs Paul is usually the one to suggest a “me item” (and me the same for her).

And I don’t hear or recall anything in the way of “please give me this, please give me that … in the name of Mrs Paul – amen”

And I find myself drawn to mantra we use so often:

“I ask this in Jesus’ name – amen”

Where did that come from I now wonder? Suddenly it seems to cheapen a very precious and profound relationship. Gimme gimme gimme – (in the best possible taste and for the good of all mankind) – “abracadabra amen”?

How did that become an okay ritual?

“Ask for anything in my name” – which one I wonder?

“It’s yours” – and I find myself wondering – is this what I do? Is this what GSHJ is really advocating as the way to relationship with Him – a “shopping list” relationship?

And so arrived at that conundrum:

I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

And finally I think I get it (at least for me – in this place – right now – for today only):

God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Father, Lord, GSHJ, Mr Grumpy, Mr Innocent, Batman, The Loom, Jesus Christ – all those names formal and informal, public and private …

Are we keeping the Trinity a “trinity”? Just a like a child looking at his/her parents and deciding which one will say yes – choosing which to ask (or manipulate)?

And He whispers with such tender love:

“No one comes to the Father but through me …” – and takes me with Him:

And having “come to the Father” what do we do then? Do we stand to bemused formal attention? Not sure what to do? Present our next shopping list to God – by turning around and looking for Jesus to do the talking?

Or do we “pile in there” to become one in One. Growing evermore in “I am of I Am”?

And if we do – then why are we not sharing what is important to us? Finding out that “no conditions love” makes “yes or no” not even the point at all. Are we not learning that relationship – the one-ness – the nakedness – all of that … that “is God” – that is way beyond the shopping list? That the shopping list is what we give to Jesus – until we come to the Father though Him and in Him and of Him in us.

So today – right now – right here – I find myself wondering about – “I ask this in Jesus’ name – amen” …

Why do we still need it?

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8 thoughts on “Beyond the shopping list

  1. Paul when my heart is in line with what God wants or brings glory to his name. Then when I am praying or as I like to call praying having our relationship with one another and I ask something of him then it is in his name. This is taught in the book of John. However it really means to ask of God what pleases him and you will have it. How do we know what pleases God read his word be obedient to his word and have a real relationship with him. Wonderful post this morning brother.

    Much love Tom

  2. Here are some examples of asking God for something. Lord give me favor with these folks that are lost that I would glorify you by showing them you.
    Father help me to hear you when you speak.

    Lord heal this sickness.

    Father help me to be salt to the world.

    Lord let your truth be known.

    Father send workers for the harvest of lost souls.

    Lord show me the ones you want me to reach for you.

    Now Paul questions like this God loves and are in his will. When I ask these questions it usually means I will be real busy. Because God is fixing to answer a bunch of these through me lol! Love you man and your heart.

  3. Ahhhh..this post made me laugh! You’re a riot, Mr Paul!

    I loved this part… “Whoa dear Jesus Christ – that sounds very mercenary. When “I want something” – which name do “I use”? That’s not the way we are. We share a desire, a thought, an ambition, something important, something that isn’t, stuff that is “us” – not my “shopping list” stuff.”
    Amen and amen…in Jesus’ name, amen! 🙂 I think you hit the heart of the matter there. Prayer is intimate conversation filled with hopes and dreams shared between a son/daughter and a Father who loves them. It’s not a shopping list so we can move on with our day.
    Awesome thoughts, bro.

    • Mel, as always – thank you. 🙂
      Increasingly I find one shopping list item that seems to be the essence of intimacy: let me be enough. For what, and how, and when or where or who – no idea. More and more it keeps me listening and holding hands. The rest is conversation.

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