My son has had trouble waking up for school for years, but in the last few months, it had really become a challenge. A blood test at the doctor’s office revealed that he has a thyroid problem and a Vitamin D deficiency. I was relieved to hear that there was a reason for his fatigue; now we could begin to treat the issues and things would change for the better.

So I got right down to the important task of expressing my gratitude to God in prayer.

Thank you for resolving this long-standing problem, Lord. I appreciate you giving us the information and tools we need to help my son.

Next thing I knew, I lapsed into what I call a “weighted” prayer. That is to say, I am genuinely grateful for the things God has done in my life, but as I send thanks skyward, it’s fraught with an underlying heaviness and I can’t help but add a little snarky postscript, like so:

But you know, it would have been great if You’d done this sooner! I mean, You created all the planets, minute life forms like paramecia, and they say Your eye is on the sparrow. Why did this slip by You?

As with everything, we’ve got a New Jersey phrase for what I was doing. In Jerzese, we call it being a Stunod. A Weisenheimer. A Jamoch. I was busting God’s shoes! What in the world was I thinking. Did I not recall that, while mostly merciful, God is also in possession of a wicked-hot thunderbolt? Tread lightly there, self!

Over the summer, friends helped us cut down a dead tree, and since that time, I’ve had a pile of branches in my yard. The other day, a contractor came to the door and offered to haul the load away. He was someone who’d done work for my neighbor, and his rates were reasonable. This was a good thing, so I prayed about it.

Thank you Lord, for sending an honest contractor to clear those branches. ‘Course, it woulda been great if You’d sent him sooner….

Back seat driving? When God’s at the wheel? Now that’s nervy. Like attaching an anchor to a prayer. Sending a beautiful love note with a thumb tack in it.

A prayer needs to have just enough substance to pack in what you have to say, but enough lightness and lilt to wend its way up to Heaven.

I’ll work on my habit of editorializing and Jerzifying as I send prayers of thanks. I know that the best way to express appreciation– to anyone, but particularly to the Source of my Strength – is to put it simply and graciously, without any extra weight. And certainly, it’s best to can the ‘tude when talking to the One holding us (and everything else in existence) together. Simply put: From my heart, Lord. Thank You.