Prompted by Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love” book & small group curriculum, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we tend to pray and I’ve come to the conclusion that we rather like keeping God in a box. Why else would we pray such little prayers? Prayers that only deal with the simplest basic needs? If I pray for someone’s safety while traveling, or for someone to find a job, or someone’s surgery to go well and these things all happen, then it’s pretty easy for me to shrug it off as careful driving, diligent job hunting, or skilled surgeons and completely leave God in his box. If I keep God in his box then I can deal with him on my own terms which really means that he is not God – at least not the God of the Bible. I’ve made him into something rather small and insignificant.
I long to hear people pray big prayers. Prayers that are humanly impossible. Prayers that only God can answer so that when he does we have absolutely no choice but to say, “God did that!” Big prayers. Prayers that take God out of the box.
I think the first big prayer I remember was when I was 14. I had completed three years of confirmation classes with the Lutheran church we were attending at the time. In that confirmation ceremony the pastor prayed an individual prayer of blessing for each of us using scripture. When he came to me he prayed: “Joe, I pray that according to the riches of his glory God may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
I don’t know if anyone has prayed that I would be “filled with all the fullness of God” since that day but I do know that I would welcome it! Can we start praying God’s Word for our families, our friends, our church? Can we begin to pray “asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give [us] spiritual wisdom and insight so that [we] might grow in [our] knowledge of God”? (Ephesians 1.17). Will you join me in praying for our churches “that [our] love will overflow more and more, and that [we] will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding…so that [we] may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return”?
Let’s take God out of the box by beginning to pray big, God-sized prayers!
What are your God-sized prayers?