Friday, February 8, 2019

Praying for the Little Things


Sometimes, it is the smallest things that stick with you in the biggest ways. For me, one example of that is the answering of a childhood prayer. It was for something insignificant, but it taught me that God cares about even the minutest details of our lives. And if He looks after the little, He certainly presides over the bigger moments, too. The impact of that experience on my life has been deep, and I hope sharing it proves to be an encouragement to others.

Are there any youthful memories that are essential for you? I figure everyone has a few that are indelible. You may not think of them often, but when you have cause to do so, they are vivid and definitive of whatever they recall.

The best way I can explain that is by describing the memory that got me started on this line of thinking, and which is what I really want to discuss here. Recently, an event from my childhood popped into my head unbidden. I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time, and I was looking for a toy. Specifically, I was looking for a piece of my handheld Batman and Robin video game. It had a detachable Batman that clipped onto the directional pad to serve as a joystick (pic related, but it's not mine). There was even a little compartment on the back of the game to store it in. But somehow, I had lost it.

Even at that age, I had an “A place for everything and everything in its place” mentality. Losing pieces to my toys drove me crazy, and this was no exception. The game was just not worth playing without that Batman joystick. I was becoming very upset after spending more than a half hour looking for it without being able to turn it up in any of the places I expected to find it.

It was at this point that my mother took me aside, calmed me down, and told me what to do. She said I needed to pray for it. She reminded me that God sees everything, He knew where it was, and He would show me where it was if I asked Him. So I prayed, and it cannot have been 30 seconds before my brother found it wedged in the couch cushions.

That might seem silly, and in some respect, it is. You could point out the coincidence of it, or the inevitability of finding that Batman, or the pointlessness of getting upset over something so small, or especially the hubris of troubling the Lord with something so inconsequential. But for me, that has always remained the point of this memory. When I consider the power of prayer, this is the first thing my mind goes to. It does so precisely because of the ways it is so inconsequential.

What this experience taught me was that nothing of mine was too small for God to care about. And if He cared about me in such a little matter, then that meant I could take anything to Him in prayer. It is not only for the “big stuff.” Instead, I was able to see for myself that prayer is about a relationship that has no limits on either end of the scale of importance.

You could say the other lesson of this experience had to do with the ends of the scale. Call it the “Transitive Property of Prayer.” If God could take care of something so easily overlooked, then He can certainly see me through life’s greater struggles. If He could not miss that little piece of plastic, then how could I believe anything else would fall through the cracks?

This memory, then, has come to represent a real-life application of Phil. 4:6–7:

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

There really is nothing that we cannot take to the Lord. This event from my life was not really unique, of course. I had had plenty of experience with prayer before then, and have had plenty since. I have seen a number answered, but have also learned that sometimes it has to be enough to know they have been heard. After all this time, though, it is still the one that sticks out. It is definitive. I don’t have that game anymore, but the memory attached to it is so much more valuable. I am extremely grateful for that. Hopefully, it helps you remember something similar from your past, or encourages you to try prayer again if it has been a while. It is so amazing to know God cares.

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