This picture is of my nephew Alex from Halloween last year. Let’s just say–he got to a piece of chocolate candy before Mom and Dad saw him and he ended up wearing it instead of eating it. Good thing those costumes only fit little kids for one year before they grow out of them!
Justin and Erin took their kids trick or treating this year in Indonesia. Ever wonder about what halloween is like in Indonesia? You can read about their adventures here (and see more ‘cute’ pictures too!).
The standard strategy for every child who trick or treats is the same–go to the door, ring the door bell, wait patiently, say ‘trick or treat’ when they open the door, and then smile real big in the hopes that they will give you extra candy. The idea is that if you say the right things and look cute enough, then they will provide you with what you wanted. There is little other interaction…you get what you came for and then quickly leave for the next house.
I cannot help but draw a connection between the way kids ‘trick or treat’ and the way most of us come to God in prayer. Many of us have a standard strategy for prayer–we go to God, we lift our prayers before Him, and we try to be extra spiritual in the hopes that this will improve our chances of Him answering prayer.
The idea is that if we can say the right things and look spiritual enough, then God will provide us with what we wanted. There is little other interaction…we get what we came for and quickly leave to do other things.
Are you ‘trick or treating’ God in prayer? Are you seeking His gifts more than you are seeking the Giver? Is the basis for why He should answer your prayers what you say (and how you say it) or is the basis the goodness of His character?
When we ‘trick or treat’ God, it flows from a failure to live out the fact that we are united with Christ. We don’t have to go to God’s door and ‘trick or treat’ for His good gifts because He has supplied us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). So, our motivation in prayer should always be more than petition…it should be fellowship. It is right to ask for God to provide for us, but it should never come at the cost of pursuing intimacy with the Giver.
The next time you come to God in prayer, don’t treat it like ‘trick or treating’ but like fellowshipping around a meal. A meal that points to the ultimate fellowship that we will have with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19).