You can stick a fork in me, but I know I'm not done. I know this because I pray a raw prayer (like the kind I prayed a few weeks ago cleaning my room and a Christmas song came on my playlist) and then spend the new few weeks listing the reasons that God should answer my prayer (clearly evidence that I haven't got the whole unmerited favor thing down yet), and then I spend the next few days beating up myself for not understanding God as Father better (who of you, if your son asked for fish, would give Him a snake?). (To be honest, I have nightmares almost weekly about snakes in Texas.)

See, I have this crazy, crazy thought that no matter what I do, it's not enough. I know none of you can relate. But stay with me here. I think that what I do really matters, like really, really matters. I think that what I do can change the world in one fell swoop, or at least change God's mind with enough cajoling. I think that.

But I don't believe that.

And I know I don't believe it, but it doesn't stop me from thinking it all the time.

I think that no matter what I do, a snake is going to find its way into my pantry or garage, even though I've asked (repeatedly) as a small favor from God: please don't ever let a snake get into my house.

And I think that no matter what I do, God doesn't want to answer my prayers.

So much so that I stopped praying. Well, I mostly just stopped asking. I prayed. I prayed a lot. But I stopped with the pleases and can-yous. I just stopped. This happened about a year and a half ago. I stopped asking and I stopped expecting. And then all of a sudden, he was answering my unasked prayers! Just like that, I didn't even ask for bread and bread showed up.

So a few weeks ago, when I blurted out that unrehearsed prayer, when Christmas music made me think of what I want most in the world and I just asked, I felt embarrassed. I wanted to hide. I looked around to see if anyone noticed. Then I felt like a child.

Then I thought: no, I don't feel like a child.

A child would ask without embarrassment. Without hiding. Without fear.

A child asks for a fish and expects a fish.

And I'm still looking for a snake to appear.

The real fault, I'm finding, is not that I don't deserve what I want (and I don't), but that I still expect stones and snakes.