I played on the softball team when I was in high school, and I was super competitive. I am not really a competitive person when it comes to other things. Softball, however, brought out a fire for winning. Whatever the reason, I just really wanted to win every game. During some really intense nail-biters, I prayed very earnestly, “God, PLEASE just let us win this game. Please help us to win!” and I meant it. I really felt like God heard my prayers, and because I even considered asking Him for help, He would work a miracle and let our team win. Sometimes, we won! A lot of times, though, we lost. (And a lot of times, the loss was really, really ugly.)
I find similarities in my prayer life now. Sometimes, I pray for the silliest things because I just really want it.
“God, please help me win that drawing for the Notre Dame/Navy tickets, because we for sure will not pay face value for those things!”
“God, please make the moles stop digging holes in our yard because they are making our grass look awful.”
“God, please let the Razorbacks win. Please. Please. Yes, the Razorbacks.”
Sometimes, we even put in a lot of effort into “assisting” God with His answer to our prayers.
But God doesn’t think our prayers are silly. I believe that He is simply pleased when we come before Him. It is good to tell God our desires. He listens, and He cares, and He answers accordingly. He wants to know our hearts, and He wants us to come straight to Him with our requests.
But where is our heart when we are praying?
Are we concerned with our desires or His will? Do we pray with as much sincerity for people, for our families, for our country, for ourselves and our struggles, for our churches, for our world? Do we put as much care into our prayers when we pray for Him to bless our meals? Are our hearts just as grateful for His blessings as they are desperate for our desires?
Often, the attention I give to my own needs and desires outweighs the focus I put on praying for others, lifting up our church, or just thanking God for what He does for me.
Prayer is vital to our relationship with God. He wants to know the things that we consider silly or insignificant. Sometimes, He uses those small things to play a role in a very important picture.
Just as we pray fervently for what we want, though, we should pray for other situations and people with the same intensity. We should lift up those prayer requests we see on our Facebook newsfeed; the upcoming presidential election and all the candidates; our church, its leaders, and the community it is impacting...And then, we should get to work doing what He has called us to do.
But why? Why would we pray if God already knows the outcome?
Because the Bible commands it.
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Praying without ceasing keeps our hearts continually focused on our Father. It keeps us open to hearing His voice, and it helps align our steps with His will. It is more difficult to have a bitter, or hateful, or angry heart. It is easier to see Him working in our lives if we are already praying for Him to move.
So, friend, don’t stop praying for the “silly” things. Keep praying for the Razorbacks (because they need it, right?!) God hears our prayers, and He has the best sense of humor. He loves when His children talk to Him. He desires for us to come to Him first with all things and situations.
My challenge to myself and to you is to pray earnestly and without ceasing. Let’s open that line of communication between us and God. Let’s put our prayers into action by doing our part to further His kingdom and enrich relationships. Let’s trust in His power. And let’s wait for His loving hand to move!