Nothing is too big or too small to take to God in prayer
Updated: Jan 18, 2022
by Leanne Swift
Do you remember that old song, what a friend we have in Jesus? The first verse goes like this:
What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
This is often the first thing that flashes through my mind when someone mentions prayer, it usually then gets stuck on repeat in my mind, it’s a catchy little tune, isn’t it? Yet this song so accurately captures several truths about prayer that is somehow easy to miss when singing it’s catchy lyrics.
Prayer is simple! In just the same way we chat to our friends, sharing our joys and our sorrows, so we can chat to Jesus, prayer is just a conversation, same as we have with others every day, there’s no clever formula, there’s no special words you need and it doesn’t have to be a long eloquent soliloquy for all to hear, in fact in Matthew 6:5-8 Jesus warns us not to pray in this way for people to see, but to “go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unsees.”
Now this isn’t to say we shouldn’t prayer together, but more a point of motive, we don’t pray to look good or show off, we pray as though we are talking to a friend or father, because we want to spend time with God, talk to someone we trust and love.
We can take absolutely everything to God in prayer, He wants to hear it! From how well we slept, to how thankful we were to get a parking place near the shop, to how a meeting with a friend went all the way to asking for help with financial worries, praying for healing from physical conditions to seeking God’s calling on our life.
Nothing is too big or small to take to God in prayer, nothing to overwhelming or too trivial, God wants to spend time with us, he welcomes us into His presence and cares enough to listen to us and to answer us.
A conversation with God can bring the greatest peace, even amid turmoil. I remember a lovely lady I once knew used to regularly say to me, “if you can’t sleep at night pray, either God will answer your prayer or the devil will put you to sleep to stop you, so you win either way.” While it may seem trite, there was wisdom in it. True, praying may not immediately solve all our problems; there are some prayers we pray that may never be answered, or issues that are never resolved.
Yet the adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ stands truer than ever when the person we share it with created the earth, moon, and stars, when He is the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End and the one for whom all things are possible! What a gift it is to know that this very same God, our loving Father not only wants to hear our prayers and converse with us, but he also wants to support us through it and answers our prayers!
One of my heroes when it come to living a prayerful life, or, as he phrased it ‘practising the presence of God’ was the 17th Century French monk Brother Lawrence. Although he lived hundreds of years ago, his love of God and desire to live his life devoted to God is one I greatly admire, though he lived with a fear that he wasn’t holy enough or dedicated enough, he still persevered. In one of the letters published later he shares this nugget of wisdom.
“In this world there is no other life that is more sweet and delightful, than that of continual conversation with GOD….But I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love…..If I were a preacher, above all things I would preach the presence of God. If I were a spiritual mentor, I would advise all the world to do it, so necessary do I think it is and so simple.” He goes on in a further letter to say “I cannot imagine how any spiritual person could live satisfied with out the presence of GOD, for my part I continually retire with Him into the depth of the centre of my soul as much as I can. While I am in this private place with Him I fear nothing, but the least turning from Him is intolerable.”
Such strong words, yet such truth, and all from a man who simply started always talking to God about everything all through his day, from reading the bible, to doing the dishes or mopping the floor, simply talk to God and think of Him and you’ve cracked the secret of spending time in God’s presence.
Jesus himself taught us that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be with them.” While living a life of daily conversation, there is also a calling to come together to prayer. You may have heard the quip “the prayer meeting is the boiler room of the church” John Wesley was quoted with saying “God does nothing except in response to believing prayers.”
While I wouldn’t want to confine God to such a restraint, there is a truth within, God wants to partner with us, and there is power in praying together. Not only does praying together encourage and edify us; it unites us, as God loves unity. Every single revival in history has been preceded by the faithful prayers of those in local churches and communities, sometimes even the two or three faithful prayer warriors, praying consistently that God would send His Spirit in power. It’s a subject I’d recommend looking into, it’s fascinating, the evidence shows that prayer is key to seeing God transform and change our communities. Before we go out, pray, but then make sure you go out, and never pray a prayer you are not willing to be the answer to!
Prayer is a wonderful gift, not a burden to be weighed down by, there is no formula, no set criteria for the right way to pray, just pray with your heart, soul and mind and the only secret is to keep thinking of, and talking to, our loving Father God. So, take heart and as the song says, “Carry everything to God in Prayer!”
(a modernised version of Brother Lawrence letters can be found in The Lost Art of practising His presence by James W. Goll)