Little Prayers, Big Answers
I’ve always been amazed and mystified by God’s concern with the minutia of our life. I know we’re his children and he loves us, yada yada, but the fact that he not only tolerates but answers some of the most insignificant prayers like pleading for a close parking spot in the cold (Connecticut winters, people!) is beyond astounding to me.
It’s easy to be moved and amazed when our ‘big prayers’ are answered. I have danced in the kitchen like a fool after long-awaited dreams have come true, or physical healings took place, or financial breakthroughs happened. To me, every answered prayer is a miracle in itself, but I’m most touched when God pays attention to the ‘little’ matters of our lives.
This might sound shallow and like I perhaps need Prozac, but I believe he hears and cares about even our most ridiculous needs and wants, because he’s so kind, and so understanding. Jesus can attest I pray in all seriousness for reduced effects of sun-frying in baby oil during my youth (okay ‘til 30) and I’m confident he hears. I honestly think he feels pleasure when we pray with the kind of faith and and boldness it takes to believe he’ll delay crow’s feet.
I used to feel guilty about making petty requests, like more patience for the millennial who wears slippers to work (I repent daily) or praying our kid to makes varsity (please Lord!!). I mean, how can God even bare hearing these borderline whines, while a mother in Yemen simultaneously prays for clean water? But I believe God not only has enough bandwidth, I think the ‘little’ prayers warm his heart because it means more intimacy with him.
But what’s almost as amazing as all the answered prayers we’ve experienced, is how our prayer life can grow stagnant, or even drop off during the busier or more difficult seasons of life, even when we understand its impact. When I examine the times when I’ve felt most alive and most blessed, it directly correlates to the quality of my prayer life. Lately I’ve been trying to remember to pray more throughout day-even hourly- instead of worrying or complaining about the things I want to change.
So many times we assume some problems and challenges are just ‘part of life’ that we have to put up with, like our kids arguing too much, or feeling disconnected to a spouse or not having enough energy at work. We accept living kind of ‘half-arsed,’ but there’s so much more joy and ease to be had in this life, if we just ask. I recently experienced this simple but welcome truth during Christmas break, home with the kids for a week. Instead of my normal fear that they’d get bored and antsy and I’d go hide in the closet out of exhaustion, I prayed for real specifics throughout each day: for peace, contentment, energy, things to do, surprise visits, a synergy between the boys…really anything other than a total Fortnite fest. And it was the best chunk of time we’ve had all together, in a while…we even scored a free trampoline. Praise ‘em.
And what’s even cooler, is that prayerfulness can awaken us to the blessings we already have, and prayers that continually remain answered. It’s so easy to take for granted the simple goodness of life- healthy parents, loyal friends, the ability to laugh through trials, the gift of music, and on and on. I recently became hyper aware of answered prayers specific to my oldest son Jack one night after being kept awake ’til the wee hours by his raucous teenage poker party. We know you have a straight flush, Tyler…all the neighbors know, at that decibel rate. Just as I began sinking into sleepless self-pity, I was punk-slapped by the Holy Spirit saying something like this: Are you serious? Your 18 year-old still watches Marvel movies with you (like, in public) and likes youth group. Crank the white noise app, and be grateful.
My single greatest answered prayer in life, to date, is how sweet and all around ‘great’ Jack has turned out to be (so far…takin’ it a day at a time in these parts)-which is only magnified by the fact that I had become a hormonal, vodka-drinking gremlin by his age. Sometimes it’s so easy, I grow suspicious, sniffing his clothes and checking for signs of late-night window- escape. Huh. Still shut. Praise you. Jesus. I’d love to say his character is a consequence of my stellar mothering, but any friend remembering me sending him to “wear your P.J.s to school day,” on the wrong day, or my job as his little league assistant, knows it’s likely the prayer.
My goal for a more joyful, powerful 2019 is to keep believing for the big prayers, while involving Him more in the small matters of life. I can’t wait to dance in the kitchen over the answers. Personally praying for a short winter. There might even be fasting.