We never gave our kids a specific prayer to pray before meals, but they seem to have one that they usually say. It goes a little something like this.
Dear God, Thank you for MommyandDaddyandAsherandforourfood. Amen.
At dinner last night, Isaac prayed before we ate. In his prayer, he slowed down, thanked God for his family, asked that God bring Randall home safely to us (it was storming outside and Randall was still at work) and thanked God for our food.
When he said “Amen” I looked at him and smiled and thought to myself, that one counted.
It occurred to me that sometimes I think like that with God. Some prayers count because we really mean them. Some don’t.
But I don’t think God counts. He cares deeply about our prayers, thoughts, feelings and lives, but I don’t think he’s got a tally list anywhere that keeps track of things.
He certainly doesn’t keep track of our sins. Psalm 103:9-12
He doesn’t keep track of our good deeds either. Romans 4:4-5
So what does God count? I looked up the word “count” in the New Living Translation of the Bible and noticed every reference. Here’s what God counts:
His creation. He knows every star in the sky by name.
And his people. Those who love him and put their trust in him. That’s what matters to God.
Galatians 6:15 says, “What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.”
When I was a child, I remember my pastor talking about prayer. He said that a lot of people feel guilty when they go to bed and start their nightly prayers and then fall asleep in the middle of them. But Pastor Fred said that God thinks your prayers are the sweetest things. Imagine a child sitting in his father’s lap as he reads him a bedtime story. If he falls asleep in his arms, even in the middle of the story, it’s the father’s most treasured time with his son.
That image has stuck with me for decades. God loves you. He’s not keeping score. Just like you don’t have a running tally of your kids’ mistakes. Obviously, those moments when you’re speaking to him and your heart is in agreement with your words, those are most meaningful. But your kids are yours, and if you believe in Him, you’re His and every conversation is meaningful and brings you closer together.
And that’s what counts.