There was once a man, who was married with several children. He cherished being a father, and he loved his responsibility as a parent. He brought up his children as he saw fit.
Later on, his mother moved in with him. The children were always loud, and sometimes mischievous, as children are. This did not bother the father, or mother, but grandma didn’t appreciate the noise.
You see, grandma wasn’t used to it. And the father knew that. So, he tried to keep a healthy balance between happy (noisy) children, and a happy grandmother.
Whenever the children were too loud, or making a nuisance of themselves with grandma, the father would step in and “take care of business”. The grandmother never asked for such assistance. She never asked the father, her son, to quiet the children down. She never asked the father to help her with the (sometimes) mischievous children. In fact, she never held the father responsible for any action of the children.
Instead of acknowledging the authority of the parents, she took authority herself.
She would yell at the children, telling them to be quiet.
She would yell at the children for misbehaving around her.
She would (at times) scold the children.
You see, much of what the grandma thought was a problem, really wasn’t a problem in eyes of the parents.
For example, sometimes they would be playing together harmlessly, not hurting one another. But grandma would yell at them anyway, thinking that they were harming one another, or destroying things when they really weren’t.
The children immediately became aware of two sets of rules within the household. One set of rules was with mommy and daddy, and the other set was with grandma. And this was very confusing to them. Eventually, they didn’t know who to listen to. They didn’t know who their parents were, or who really held authority over their lives.
At first, the father just overlooked this. But as time went on – day after day, week after week, and month after month, the problem just got worse.
All the while, the grandmother was unaware of this. She was very well meaning. And she didn’t think anything was wrong with what she did.
However, in the end, the parents were getting quite offended. Because the grandmother did not acknowledge the authority of the parents, even in the presence of the children. On rare occasion, she would indirectly mention something to the father about the noise, or mischievous behavior of the children. But the children didn’t see it, and thus they remained confused about who really had final authority over them.
The grandmother continued to yell at the children for reasons that the parents didn’t think was necessary. And the worst part, she would scold the children for doing things right in front of the parents. Eventually, the tension mounted as the father saw it more clearly as time went on. His authority as father was outright dishonored by the actions of grandma.
Finally the father, seeing how grandma was stepping right over his head, finally spoke up and asked grandma to tell him whenever the children were misbehaving. Then, he assured her, he would deal with it appropriately.
But she didn’t. Grandma just didn’t acknowledge the presence of, and honor the authority of the parents.
She went right on, taking the role of a parent, in spite of being confronted about it.
Overlooking the ultimate authority of the parents, grandma would assume responsibility of the children, scold them, and enforce rules, some of which was contrary to the rules of the parents.
Weeks went by. The father spoke to his mother about it again.
She still didn’t heed.
This went on for months. Finally, the father thought, “If grandma is going to keep taking things in her own hands, not acknowledging my authority, not honoring my role as parent in the presence of the children, then I’m going to let her deal with them.”
He stopped trying to keep the children quiet just for grandma. After all, she took this authority upon herself (to no avail, of course).
He stopped trying to get the children to behave in a manner that would be more acceptable to grandma. After all, grandma outright dishonored his authority. Why should daddy try to please someone whose actions showed such disrespect, and dishonor?
Rest assured, whenever the children were doing something that was dangerous, the father stepped in regardless, and took appropriate action.
He just gave up being the mediator between grandma, and them. After all, she never asked him. She “thought” she didn’t need his help. She “thought” she didn’t need his authority.
The father sat back, and only intervened if he saw harm coming to his children, or grandma. Otherwise, all the “trivial” things that grandma was irked about – he just let it go…. waiting for grandma to finally acknowledge his authority, and ask him.
Grandma never did acknowledge the responsibility and authority of the father in the presence of the children.
Grandma never did get the peace, and quiet that she wanted. She failed to acknowledge, and honor the authority of the parents. All grandma needed to do is simply speak up in the presence of the children, call on mommy or daddy to use their authority as parents. But she never did. She took matters in her own hands, which indirectly took matters OUT of the hands of the REAL authority – the parents.
God will do a lot without you asking Him. But some things He wants to be acknowledged for. Sometimes He wants you to acknowledge His presence, and His authority in the matter. And failing to do so is dishonoring Him.
So, why do we have to pray, when God already knows our needs?
Because He wants you to acknowledge Him, and His authority in your life. And prayer is doing exactly that. Sometimes, just like that father, He backs off if He senses that you are not acknowledging and honoring His authority. If you think you can do it apart from His intervention, He might just back off and leave you to fend for yourself.
Make sure you acknowledge the presence of God in your life today. Pray. Call on Him. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Acknowledge His presence, and authority. Asking is honoring. It is a form of respect. Ask God. In doing so, you will honor Him.