Prayer is one of those things that puzzles most of us. Does a certain verbiage move the hand of God, does a lot of crying and pleading need to take place, or do we just need to bow our heads and whisper and believe? And are we to stop praying after a certain length of time, assuming God is saying no? And what specific things are just too miraculous to expect, this side of heaven?
The other day I was thinking about the future (which always causes worry) and I realized that I don’t really ask BIG things from God, expecting them to happen. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t feel worthy, or if I feel too presumptuous to ask for things other than needs.
However, a light bulb went off in my mind and I realized that prayer isn’t JUST something we do to move the hand of God so that he doles out favor in our direction. It’s also a movement we are to make, in order to settle our hearts. And I had this thought, “Why not pray big?”
There’s a book I once read called Disappointed with God, and the author was a rabbi that had lost his son. He was quite bitter and angry at God for not answering his big prayer for healing. He posed a question in that book that I’ll never forget. He asked which is the bigger miracle, to get what we ask and demand from God in prayer, or to receive complete peace in the middle of disappointment? He realized that the latter is indeed the greater miracle.
Jesus showed up on the scene of people with great needs, and he healed people, provided wine for a wedding, and even raised the dead. But when we have a friend with cancer, or an impossible situation, we grow weary quickly if we don’t see the results we expect. Once I had a friend that was very ill and she was more at peace than I was, about her situation. That blew my mind.
Sometimes, I have to daily visualize laying my worries and fears at His feet in a drawstring bag and walking away, leaving them to do with as He pleases, for the best. Because that’s who God is. He’s a God that works all things together for good.
So, why do we need to pray, if He’s going to work out things according to His plan, and not the plan we give him? The best answer I know to share is to say that He said to pray, in faith, and we are to obey that directive. Remember when your parent’s answer to your, “Why?” was the simple flat response, “Because I said so”? There’s something beautiful about a child that just obeys because he trusts his parents and doesn’t question them. I’m pretty sure all kids question, but as they grow they realize the wisdom when the answer was no.
I have decided that I’m going to pray big prayers, asking for big things, but not set them out on a table in order for God to give his stamp of approval. Because the even bigger answer to any of my prayers is to offer me peace in the waiting and the not understanding, which he has promised to us all, while He answers.
He’s always at work, his eye never misses a thing, and he holds our hearts and minds and bodies in the very center of his own heart. If the answer is no, then he sees something ahead that we do not. And if the answer is yes, then we can leap up and down for joy. And if the answer is wait, then we can hold his hand and sit in his lap and let him hold us still.
Go on. Pray Big. But expect great peace if the big you see doesn’t happen just yet…because that’s the bigger miracle.