Bread or Stone?
Today we're going to be continuing our conversation on prayer--the second of two questions on prayer that I feel are very important for those of us who struggle sometimes to understand prayer, how it works and whether it makes any difference.
The question for today is, "How do I know if my prayers are appropriate?"
At the heart of this question is an observation that is fairly obvious: There is a difference between prayers for healing or for spiritual direction, or for peace in the world and prayers for a prime parking spot at the mall.
I've heard the following statement more than a few times in my life, "All your requests matter to God, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem to you."
Honestly, I don't think God cares in the same way about all of the requests we might bring to God. There's no way that a first world problem like a parking space is on the same level as peace in the Middle East.
The fact of the matter, however, is that God cares about us. God wants to be in a relationship with us. And all of our prayers, both great and small are part of being in relationship with God.
In his excellent book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Philip Yancey writes:
"If God counts on prayer as a primary way to relate to me, I may block potential intimacy by devising a test for appropriateness and filtering out prayers that many not meet the criteria."
Jesus told his followers to bring all of their cares and concerns to God because God wanted to hear them share---much like a parent who wants to hear about their child's day at school.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matt 7:9-11)
Stay in conversation with God today. Talk to God about what is happening with you, share your deep fears and doubts, your cares and concerns.... and share the little things as well. Keep the conversation going all day long as you seek good things from a good God who loves you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.