Monday, May 16, 2011

Praying Big

All humanity will come to You,
the One who hears prayer.
You answer us in righteousness,
    with awe-inspiring works,
    God of our salvation,
    the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the distant seas;
    You establish the mountains by Your power,
    robed with strength;
    You silence the roar of the seas,
    the roar of their waves,
    and the tumult of the nations.
    Those who live far away are awed by Your signs;
    You make east and west shout for joy.

Usually the Psalms are like comfort food, soothing and familiar as the back of my hand.  This week, however, they are blowing the lid off the box I didn't know I'd made for God.

What's more, they are showing my prayers, especially my prayers for others, up for what they are: pared-down, modest, mustn't be too greedy, reasonable prayers.  The Psalms remind me again how big, how wild, how not safe but good He is; they invite me to pray bigger prayers.

If God really is this Rocky-building, canyon-carving, Red-Sea-parting, manna-providing, wall-crumbling, crowd-feeding, leper-healing, tomb-emptying, Son-giving God, then what has He to do with reasonable?

Wouldn't it glorify Him more for me to pray big, outlandish, God-sized prayers? And then ask Him to go bigger than that?  Granted, we pray our big prayers with the heart that says, "As You wish," knowing that sometimes "His greatest mercies are His refusals," as Sheldon Vanauken (I think) said. Even so, knowing He may and will say no sometimes, perhaps most of the time, don't big prayers better reflect His character than shriveled, manageable, reasonable ones that protect me from disappointment?

If you are in my inner circle, if I have committed to pray for you through a tough time, this is your warning.  I am asking God to do a work as big as Himself in your life and circumstances, to dazzle you with His brilliant goodness in your dark place.  If your heart is too wounded and weary to pray big prayers for yourself, as mine often is for myself, at least I can believe God for great things for you, and you for me.

Please join with the Holy Experience community and me in thanking our big God for all His kindnesses, great and small:
~God too big for any human box
~"Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you"
~this deeply encouraging chapel message from Dallas Theological Seminary
~a swallowtail and a monarch taking afternoon tea together in the butterfly weed
~watching grass grow
~starting the week with a full tank of gas (thanks, A.!)
~commendation for diligent husband from colleagues and managers at work
~eating quesadillas he made with his leftover steak for both of us to share
~contributing to the needs of the saints
~impromptu double-date at home with the parents for Whataburger and a favorite show
~youngest nephews on the phone
~Play-Doh cookies, complete with frosting and sprinkles
~Ebony sleeping with his head on my middle, his muzzle rising and falling with my breath and my hand rising and falling with his
~crazy Texas weather, high temperatures swinging from the 90s to the 60s and soon back to the 90s again
~waiting for outcomes in God's hands
~easy frozen skillet dinners
~stunning gold flowers adorning a street-corner cactus
~the first two hummingbirds at the month-old feeder
~roses in jam jars on the table
~moments at the piano
~husband laughing at my silliness
~watching the sky
(from the gratitude list, #242-263)


  1. YES!! May we have the courage to pray prayers unbounded by fear of any kind! May we see Him more clearly outside the parameters of our comfort zones. May we truly seek His instruction in how to pray. This is so precious! I am thankful for your words!!

  2. I hope to be counted among those in your inner circle. Love you.

  3. @AnneAmen, sister! I am thankful for these words of yours, too.

  4. I love this. Pray big! Often I probably pray too "reasonable". What? Hasn't God shown me time and again that he works far outside of my little boundaries? Thanks for the reminder of how big our God is.

  5. Convicting. I was just wondering this morning if I pray too small with my daughters b/c I'm trying to protect God's reputation with them. Crazy.
    I always enjoy your gratitude lists. . . and now I'm picturing roses in jam jars. Delightful, like the other items:)

  6. @Amy So happy to pass the conviction around... Unfortunately, that doesn't mean any the less for me. :)

    Empty jars are one of my favorite reuse/repurpose/recycle items. I have real vases, but somehow the little jars suit the shorter stemmed garden roses better. Glad you liked the image.

    May God guide your prayers uniquely for each daughter.

  7. @Lisa notes... You're welcome. Glad I'm in good company.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.