I hate pestering people, but I like getting things done. So my professional life is usually a tug of war between my results-oriented, performance-driven personality and my need to remain anonymous and low maintenance. But sometimes I wonder if my professional life creeps into my personal life a little more than I think.
This month, I’m studying prayer because it something I want to understand better. I’ve grown up praying. I’ve prayed in different languages. I’ve listened to prayers in even more languages than I can speak. I’ve heard prayers I understood, prayers I didn’t, prayers that rhymed. You name it, and I’ve heard someone pray it.
And I’m just as guilty as the next Christian at wondering, “Why would anyone pray for something like that?” Do you ever do that? Do you ever wonder why someone would pray for something?
I hate to admit that I do. I’d like to think I don’t do it as often as I used to because I’ve learned more about prayer the older I’ve gotten. But that doesn’t stop my sharp-tongued brain from thinking things I’ll never say out loud about how silly a prayer request might be.
Seriously. What gives me the right to judge the worth of someone’s prayer request? What are we even supposed to be praying for anyway? We’ve already established that we’re supposed to worship God in our prayers, telling Him who He is. We’re also supposed to pray with an attitude that prefers His way instead of our own. But when we get to the “asking for things” part of our prayers, what are we actually supposed to ask for?
Today’s verse is Matthew 6:11.
Give us today the food we need.
Is that it? Well, it’s far from the shortest verse in the Bible, but not by much. So what on earth does this mean? Does this mean we’re only supposed to pray for things that we need? What about things that we want? Can’t was ask God for those things too? What about our dreams? What about the impossible? Don’t we need more than food?
Remember, the Lord’s Prayer is an instruction manual. It’s the basics of how to pray. It’s like an outline for how to talk to God.
There are other verses that talk about how God wants to know what we want, how God wants us to tell Him about our dreams. And I think Jesus used the “daily bread” example to show us that nothing is too small or insignificant to ask God about.
Do you ever not pray about something because you’ think God wouldn’t care about it? Do you ever skip over a prayer request because you think it’s not worth the time? Well, if Jesus is saying that we can pray for our daily bread, which we were probably going to get anyway, we can pray to ask for help finding our keys. We can pray that our gallon of gas left in the tank gets us to the next gas station. We can pray for the little things.
Nothing is too little. If it matters to you, it matters to God.
Don’t judge your problems by how the world sees them. Don’t make a judgement call about someone else’s issues using the world as a measuring stick. The world has a tendency to muddle things up.
Yes, ask Him for spectacular things. Ask Him for amazing things that no one else could accomplish. But don’t get so focused on those huge flashy things that you forget how huge and important the small requests are. Oftentimes, it’s the small things that mean the most.