Another beautiful day in Kauai. Yesterday morning as we sat drinking our caffeinated beverage of choice, various poultry visitors stopped by our lanai to say hello, as they have all week. The finely colored rooster, raising his fine head and voice to welcome the world to this new day, herded his family--several hens and chicks--right up under the chairs and table, and actually began to roost--like he was going to build a home right outside our screen door. But Mr. Duck wandered up, and without a single hiss (they aren't cats, after all), the chicken family scurried down the path to find a more likely spot and the duck took up ownership of one paving stone--watching to make sure there would be no other interlopers at what he apparently thought of as 'his' place. But before too long, three identically marked (to this novice eye, anyway) black geese marched in lock-step straight up and past him--onto our lanai, almost THOUGH THE screen door where we were watching most interestedly. The duck didn't give an inch, even though he was small and out-numbered. All he had going for him really was that he believed he was right He believed he was in the right place at the right time--that he was supposed to be there. And this notion--this one, seemingly hard to back up notion--turned out to be the strongest belief on the block. It helped him stand his ground. Those fatty old black geese wandered off (HELPED by a little encouragement of the human sort, when ML went out and sort of kindly shepherded them off so that we wouldn't have to dodge 'droppings' later).
It seems that even previous occupants of this condo have ignored the myriad posted signs to NOT feed the animals (or poultry), so those chickens, geese and lone duck were hungry in expectation that once our slider was open, food would quickly follow. They knew how it worked. They knew if they simply showed up, hats in hand, so to speak, their needs would be met. And they weren't very pleased to discover that this wasn't the case. When the geese were shooed off, their honks were a language we all understood, though we've no more hope of speaking 'goose' than we have of laying eggs.
But this morning, as I sit here alone (Beve and our friends took a drive up the Waimea Canyon, leaving me--the poultry-hearted that I am when it comes to windy mountain roads--alone), it hits me how like those feathered-friends all of us are. When we pray, our prayers are rife with hunger. We ask for sun when we want to lay on a beach or play in the surf at the same time another person--in the very same time zone--might ask God for rain. We pray for victory for our sports team, while across a stadium or gym there are others praying the exact prayer for those dressed in opposing colors. And when our prayers are answered, we rejoice. Our hunger is met. But those who have prayed the opposite prayer have gone hungry, so to speak.
It seems to me we've missed the mark in such praying. We begin on the wrong lanai, so to speak. We look for hand-outsrather than laying our lives down, and asking Him to only give us what will most satisfy Him first. And push others' needs (especially when those needs are in stark contrast to our own) out of our brains. We take up residence on some concrete pad, act like we own the place and deserve the food, the win, the...whatever. And sometimes it costs someone else something that would bless them.
I don't know what to do with all this. I don't know how to pray in such a way that will both minister to others and satisfy my own needs, but I believe it starts with losing my life for His sake. Seeking not MY Kingdom, but His. No matter what.
The question must be--for whom should you--should I--be praying? First. Seek their good, their best, seek to have their hungers met. Lay down your life for them. Wouldn't it be amazing thing if we prayed for others to eat their fill in His Kingdom before we took a bite? There's plenty for all of us. Seek first the Kingdom, and His righteousness [for others] and all these things will be added unto you!