Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Why do we pray SMALL prayers?

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[I could say, welcome back. After some technical issues with my former website, I'm now posting new content at www.peterbrookshaw.com]

I remember one night, some years ago, I was laying down on a comfy bean bag. It was around 10pm at night. The distractions of the day had passed. With my mind focused on God, I lifted my hands in gratefulness for what God had done in my life. I was singing "How Great is our God" at the top of my lungs. You may know the song. It's been a big one for the last couple of decades. As I belted out the lyrics, I couldn't help but try to ponder the power and majesty of a creator God.

God is a big God. That's may sound simple, but by no means is it simplistic. NASA's James Webb space telescope put in picture form the magnitude of God's creation. In recent months it released new images, that captivated the world, and followers of Jesus looked and said to themselves, 'Wow, how incredible is God?!'

Let me be provocative for a moment. If we follow such a big God, why do we pray such small prayers? I'm preaching to myself just as much as anyone else. I serve a big God, who loves me, who sent Jesus into the world to reconcile me back to the Lord. The way I pray reflects my depth of understanding of who God is.

This became very apparent to me this week. I was reading Joshua chapter 10. It's a story of 5 kings colluding together to go and attack a group called the Gibeonites. Joshua, as the leader of the Israelites hears of this imminent attack and draws his soldiers out to battle. Then Joshua prays this BIG prayer:

"O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon over the Valley of Aijalon." (Joshua 10:12)

The Scripture then says the sun stood still for a whole day, as the Israelites defeated the attacking armies.

Now, go with me for a moment in my thinking. Joshua prayed a big prayer. And why did he pray a big prayer? He prayed a big prayer, because he had grown in a deeper understanding of how big his God was. By the time we get to Joshua chapter 10, Joshua had seen the following:

- Moses parting the red sea
- Quail coming down from heaven
- A pillar of fire over their camp by night
- The justice of God, when someone was disobedient to the commands of God
- The victory that came in battle, when Moses held his arms up on the mountain
- The passing down of the law of God, supernaturally, when Moses encountered God Almighty
- The crossing of the river Jordan and how God had banked up the river so they could cross
- The walls of Jericho coming down

My point is this:

Joshua prays BIG prayers, because he's matured in his faith. Joshua has seen an Almighty God at work. Joshua now has a bigger faith, a courageous faith; one that dares to pray that the sun would stand still in the sky!

So I'm challenging myself right now. Maybe I've seen God supernaturally provide financially for someone. Now why not a whole village? I've seen God heal someone's leg. Why not pray that God brings healing to my whole community? I've seen someone donate a car to someone in need. Why not believe for a whole parking lot?

I ask the question: If you and I believe in a powerful God, then let's pray big prayers. Sure, start small. See God answer the small things. There's nothing wrong with that. Joshua's faith grew. Our faith can grow. But don't stay there. See God at work, through the power of the Holy Spirit, then stretch your prayers. Believe that God can do immeasurably more!! 

What can you pray for right now, that stretches your faith?

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