All my life, I have struggled with keeping up a daily and vibrant communication with God. Much like my struggle with developing a daily Bible study habit, I found myself unsure what prayer should look like in my life – and so despite my desire to have a good relationship with God, I never felt like my prayers had wings. My prayers felt cold, mechanical, rehearsed, or reactionary – like someone else was putting the words into my mouth or like duty was calling me to cry them out in desperation.
Sure, there were times in the past I had felt like my prayers were heartfelt – when I was struggling with some deep sin or hurt and my prayer poured out of a soul that was weary and wounded – but the daily struggle was there. When things were up, there was joyous praise – and when things were down, there were desperate cries for help.
But there was nothing in between.
Not long ago, I came aware of the importance of that space in between – the flatline moments wedged among the blips of happiness and despair in my emotional timeline. I had felt them rather disconnected from my spiritual life, like what I ate, what I chose to do, and what small interactions I had on a daily basis had a relatively small impact on my Christianity. But I made a decision to bring God into them anyway. To ask Him to help me gain a healthy relationship with food, free from binges. To thank him for my body’s abilities as I jogged along the pathway. To be with me and my attitude as I went along on a journey. I prayed for small things. Little things. Seemingly insignificant things. Things that I have been told were not important enough for God’s ears.
And I found, quite to my surprise, that it was the praying for these simple things that I had been missing from my prayer life all along. It was those little things that little by little, built up my prayer endurance and faith in the fact He listens. The entreaties for self-control to help with my eating habits quickly evolved into such an awareness of my hourly struggles with my emotions. The praise and thankfulness for my body’s abilities to move grew into an appreciation for all my blessings. The prayers for help with my journeys developed into prayers for His guidance through a difficult or potentially challenging stage of life.
Simply put, praying for the small, seemingly insignificant things I was struggling with and thankful for minute by minute led me to experiencing a growth in my prayer life that caused it to permeate every struggle and joy I experienced.
Filling up the space in between the ups and downs of my experiences with a constant communication with God, no matter how small it seemed at the time led me to realise that I serve a God who cares about all my struggles and joys, small or great. Think about it, how frustrating would it be if every time you wanted to talk to your husband you had to be in a state of euphoria or depression? What if those were the only heights and depths of emotion he cared about? You would hardly have a good relationship.
And yet we communicate with God this way. We talk to Him of deep depression and terminal illness, thank Him for the pay raise, and beg forgiveness for our sins – but we neglect to talk to Him of little disappointments and colds, we don’t thank Him for small gifts of encouragement, and we don’t even think twice to ask Him to forgive us for that time we gave that guy in the gym the double glance over. Then we are surprised when we don’t feel like we have a deep relationship with God, or when we lack the strength to fight temptation. But we shouldn’t be surprised. If we don’t have a relationship with the little, daily things, we can’t enjoy the relationship with the bigger things – and our struggles will often surmount to the point of imbalance or sinfulness if we let them wait until they become “big enough” to take to God.
We need to realise this one thing and hold it in our hearts: God is big enough for all our small things. He isn’t annoyed when we take to Him our little cares and concerns. He made us to act holistically – why else would He ask us to love Him with our heart, mind, soul, and strength? Why would He ask us to “pray without ceasing” and “give thanks in all circumstances” if He didn’t want us to talk to Him about everything that is in our hearts? He knows us and knows that we need to make Him a part of everything or He will end up being nothing to us – simply the thing we run to whenever we feel the urge at the whims of our emotions – that distant friend we message on Facebook in our desperation whenever we have no one else to talk to.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
“Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18)
We need to stop thinking that our little struggles over our self-control have nothing to do with Heaven and start bringing God into the picture with everything.
- If it is bothering you, throw it on God and ask for help with your attitude – no matter how small the bother.
- If it fills you with joy, give Him your praise – no matter how trivial the object of your happiness may seem.
- If you are unsure, ask for His wisdom – no matter how trivial the decision may be in the grand scheme of things.
- If it leads down the wrong path, pray for His guidance – no matter whether it’s “crossed the line.”
This is how you cultivate relationship. Little things. Big things show you how you need to draw closer and cling tighter but it’s the little things – the everyday, mundane things – that build up your endurance for when the big things come along.
God cares about your little struggles because He knows that that’s where the big struggles start and He wants you to bring them to Him because He knows that’s where relationships start.
“Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)
Our prayers can move the mountains but if we never ask Him to first move a stone, it’s not likely we’ll ever have the faith to make the mountains move.
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:19, 20)
Are you struggling to keep up an active prayer life? Maybe, just maybe, you’re missing the simple things.
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This goes along with my previous post. Simple prayers. Small prayers. Seemingly insignificant prayers. From these come the power to pray and believe when we need to call upon God for those big things. Via @lysaterkeurst __________ #prayer #strongwomen #lifelivedbeautifully #wellwateredwomen #womenlivingwell #startsmall #smallbeginnings #mindbodysoul #happyhealthyholy