The embarrassing, gaping hole in my prayer life

“What’s the impossible thing you don’t believe God can do?” 

The discussion question posed to our Bible study group last week was followed by silence.

Crickets.

I racked my brain for an answer, and, finding nothing, proudly determined I had such great faith that I believed God can do anything. 

Until my friend spoke up. “I don’t always believe God will do the little things, and sometimes I feel silly praying for them,” she said. “I was in a wedding last weekend, and I didn’t think my dress would fit (she just had a baby), and I worried and worried about it. Four days before the wedding, I finally started praying about it, and I shouldn’t have been so worried, because it did end up fitting on the wedding day.” 

Her comment was a reality check.

All of a sudden I realized that my problem isn’t that I don’t believe God can do the big things; it’s that I don’t really believe in him or count on him for the little things, and my prayer life reflects that. 

Max Lucado and LifeWay Research recently asked Protestants what things they’ve prayed for. Quite a number of people said they’d prayed about their sins, for their enemies, or for people in natural disasters. You know—the obvious stuff. I’ve got those down for sure. Safe travels? Check. Good health? Check. The well-being of family members and friends? Check. The faith of those I know are living without Christ? Check. Yay for me. (Not really.)

Here’s what got me about that questionnaire though: 9% of respondents said they’ve prayed to find a good parking spot, 7% to not get caught speeding, and 11% for their favorite team to win.

Now, I realize that you could look at that type of prayer as using God as a good-luck charm. But I look at it from the standpoint that, for those Christians, nothing, nothing, is too insignificant to pray about. 

There’s a gaping hole in my prayer life.

I realized at our Bible study that I am far less likely to pray for the things over which I have control. When I feel anxiety or overwhelmed, when I overspent our monthly grocery budget, when I have a headache I brought on by being stressed, when I’m overanalyzing a small decision, when I’m crabby for no reason, when I open the fridge and start bingeing, when I get a text or e-mail from someone who makes me irritated, when a store is out of the gift I want to buy for someone, when I get mad at myself for wasting time on social media . . . I rarely go to God in those small moments and ask for his help. Instead, I give myself a pep talk and tell myself to do better next time, to work harder, to let it go, or to perk up. 

So I’m adding the small prayers into my life, and I hope you’ll think about doing that too, if you’re not already. God wants to bestow goodness on us in the little day-to-day moments; let’s not shy away from going to him in prayer and asking for his blessings and guidance. As we read in James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Diana Kerr is a blogger, writer, and speaker. Her small prayer for today is that God blesses her trip to the store to find a meaningful little birthday present for her parents’ foster child. Her second small prayer is that the Chuck E. Cheese salad bar will be supportive of her strict paleo diet and have good toppings when she visits there to celebrate that foster child’s birthday tomorrow. (And also that she won’t be jealous watching everyone else eat cheesy gluten.)