‘Dear God, please save the whole world. Amen.’
Still too big?
It’s not that God doesn’t like hearing our prayers. Or that he’s not willing to answer these big sort of prayers. But honestly. Do we really expect this to happen? All the people in the UK… turning to God? And by when? What takes more faith: praying, ‘Save the world’, or ‘Dear God, please turn the heart of my neighbour, *Joe, to you. Would you give me a chance to talk with him this week?’
It’s common practice in the workplace to aim for SMART goals – those goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. But making our prayers more specific is scary. Yes, risky. Yes, requiring more faith. Requiring more of US.
We’ll know for sure if we didn’t get a chance to talk to *Joe this week. Or worse, if God actually answers and gives us an opportunity when we’re too busy or timid to take it up. Which is why we – OK, I’ll own it – I, prefer to hide behind the vague generalisms, and figure that God wasn’t interested if nothing happens. Or that maybe he’s answering somehow ‘out there’ but I’m just not sure how. But I’m sure he is, really. He’s God.
We can think, ‘One day, there’ll be a mass turning to Jesus.’ God will just do something big and grandiose. ‘Revival’. Like he does. Well actually, he more often answers small, significant, personal and risky prayers. He touches *Joe’s life. Through you. Through me. He answers prayers of real faith, landed in real, specific, on-your-doorstep needs. And he loves to get you involved too. Not just on your knees, but in the neighbourhood.
I’m excited about the big things God does. I’m inspired by the stories of recent history when God touched whole regions, whole generations of people, and they turned to him and found peace with him. For sure, I want to see this happen again in my generation – don’t we need it? But I’m going to be honest here. I don’t think my faith is big enough to pray ‘Send revival.’ or ‘Please, bring the church to her knees.’ I’m going to have to start with smaller prayers.
‘Dear God, touch the heart of my neighbour *Joe.’ ‘Please, give me one or two friends to pray with this Saturday, Lord.’
What small prayers do you need to pray?
*[insert name of your neighbour, if you know it. And if not, find out what it is.]
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20
The art of small faith