Big prayers. Small prayers.


prayer board

We all pray big prayers and small prayers.

No, I don’t mean long prayers and short prayers. That is something different. We pray big prayers: “Please heal my spouse’s cancer.” “Please get me a job.” “Please bring my child to salvation.”

But we also pray small prayers. “Please don’t let it rain today. I didn’t bring an umbrella and I paid lots of money for this hairdo.” “Please let the next sms be from him.” “Please keep the sermon short today, the game is on at 12.”

I prayed a small prayer last night. “Please let me catch some fish tomorrow”. You see, when it comes to fishing I’m the eternal optimist. I love deep sea fishing. But I’m not particularly good at it. I once caught a big fish. Once. Most times I catch nothing. And this last year has been especially dire. Last time we went fishing I caught only one fish and it was so small, it barely made a meal for me. (Sorry, family)

But it’s a small prayer. Because fishing is fun. Fishing is recreation. My family’s meals do not depend on my fishing ability (Thank heavens!).

So did I catch a fish today? Well, due to circumstances we never went out. So, no, my small prayer wasn’t answered. But that’s ok. Because it was only a small prayer. We’re OK if God lets the small prayers slide. As long as He comes through on the big ones.

Which got me thinking. By prioritising our prayers we are making ourselves into gods. We tell God “OK, here are all the prayers. These ones, the small ones, you can slip up on. But these are the big ones. If you don’t answer these ones, there will be some difficulty in this relationship.”

God clearly say in Isaiah 55:8 “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.” We do not have the ability to decide which prayers should be answered and which not.

Philippians 4:6 says “in every situation, by prayer and petition… present your requests before God.”

Bring all your prayers. In every situation. Big ones and small ones. Long ones and short ones. But then allow God to be God to decide which prayers He should answer and which are best answered with “Sorry, it’s best if I say no to that request.”