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Here’s a popular little jingle in Christendom: “Pray BIG, because we have a BIG God.” But what does this mean exactly? If we need a car, does God want us to pray for a brand new SUV instead of some small beat up clunker? If we need a new place to live, does He want us dreaming of mansions instead of just hoping for a room somewhere? If finances are tight, are we supposed to name and claim millions instead of just what we need? Is God offended by our lack of faith when we don’t dream big and pray expectantly? Well, it depends.
Think about the kinds of things you’ve asked God for recently. What were your prayer requests over the last year? Lump them all together into your mind and then divide them into two categories: things that have to do with your earthly comfort, and things that have to do with your spiritual growth. Which category do you pray about more often?
The kinds of things we pray for reveal what our true priorities are. Are we always asking God to fix problems that arise in our earthly lives? If so, then our priorities are out of balance. It’s a spiritual waste for a Christian to spend his whole life pursuing a comfy earthly experience. Yes, we do have real problems down here. We struggle with diseases, poverty, unemployment, and stressful jobs. We have real needs and real inconveniences. Does God care about our little problems? Certainly. But those problems aren’t in our lives by accident—God carefully selects the kinds of trials He inflicts on us, and He doesn’t give us problems just to take them away again without any spiritual gain happening. When we try to use prayer as a problem eraser, we end up closing our minds to God’s important spiritual agenda. Yes, God cares about the fact that our lives aren’t going smoothly. But He cares a whole lot more about our souls maturing.
God wants His kids to embrace His priorities for them. Many of God’s kids refuse to do this. As fallen, selfish human beings, we naturally start out only caring about our earthly comfort. Having problem free lives and getting a bunch of earthly toys and perks is all we care about. God expects this kind of immaturity from us when we’re spiritual infants, but He also starts nudging us forward. When we fight those nudges and refuse to discuss having our priorities altered, then we get into rebellion, and that ends up creating friction which leads to discipline. If we don’t respond to discipline, we end up stagnating. None of this is any good. As God reveals His priorities to us and we realize that they are vastly different than our own, we need to be willing to change.
Our spiritual growth is God’s top priority for us. Everything He does to us and for us is ultimately about drawing us closer to Him. Everything He gives and withholds from us is about deepening our bond with Him. We need to recognize this and adjust our prayer life accordingly. Instead of praying for earthly comforts and solutions, we need to start praying for spiritual growth and maturity. Instead of praying for more stuff, we should be praying for a closer relationship with God. Instead of asking God to remove all problems from our lives—which is the same as asking Him to stop trying to grow us—we should be asking Him to help us learn everything He wants to teach us through the current trial we are facing. When our priorities become aligned with God, the focus of our prayer requests radically change. It’s only after our focus is correct that we should be concerning ourselves with “praying big.”
Now that we’re praying for the right things—spiritual maturity, a deeper walk with God, and guidance on how to please Him with our lives—does God want us to pray big? Oh yes, He does. In fact, He wants us to pray HUGE. He wants us to take wild leaps of faith, stretch our imaginations to the limit and ask Him for things that we can barely get up the courage to ask for. But again, these things must reflect God’s priorities. Here are some examples:
“God, I don’t want to please You just some of the time, I want to please You all the time. I want to please You with every breath. I have no idea how this could even be, but You’re God, and I know that with You, anything is possible. So I’m asking You to do whatever it takes to make me super pleasing in Your sight.”
“Lord, I can see that my trust in You is seriously weak. I know I can’t change that, but I believe You can. Help me to completely trust You—to trust You so much in my soul that I never doubt Your love and faithfulness again. It feels like I’m asking for too much, but I know You want us to be close, and so do I. Please do whatever it takes to get me to the point where I stop doubting You.”
“God, when I think about the cross, I can’t even comprehend it. It feels so impossible for me to really understand the kind of love that would go through all of that for a bunch of bratty sinners. But I believe You can help me understand, so I ask that You do. I want to really appreciate Your love and have gratitude that honors You. Right now, I just feel too disconnected and flat about what You did for us. Open my mind, give me insight. Help me to really understand and appreciate how much You love me and all of us and then show me how to bless You by my grateful response.”
These are the kinds of prayers that really excite God. Notice how they are all focused on furthering your personal relationship with Him. Notice how they are all focused on pleasing God. When we pray for earthly comforts, we’re only focused on ourselves. But when we pray with correct spiritual priorities, we ask for things that will bless God as well as us. We think about the things He cares about and those are the things we pursue. Do you see how much our priorities affect our prayers?
Think about your walk with God. Think about where you’re at today versus where you wish you could be. Think about the Christians you’re jealous of because they seem to have more of God than you do. Maybe they understand more about Him or they hear from Him more often or they seem more confident in His love. Instead of going through life feeling like the lesser child and making depressing comparisons, start praying big about your own walk with God. Remember that your relationship with Him is a highly personal thing which has nothing to do with anyone else. God created you with a specific plan in mind. He designed you to relate to Him in your own special way. God’s spiritual plans for you are more thrilling than you would dare to imagine from here. That means a good place to start is to ask Him to expand your imagination about how close you and He can be. Then start asking for Him to make you all that He wants you to be. Don’t settle for limited time periods. Don’t just pray for today or this year or even this life—pray for eternity. Your relationship with God is an ongoing thing, so think big, and think long-term. Ask God to draw you as close to Him as possible while you’re on this earth, and then to draw you as close as possible in eternity as well. Tell Him you want to experience His ideal plan for you and Him.
Get alone with God somewhere and ask yourself, “How close to God do I really want to be and what do I think that would look like?” Then pray BIG. When you hear Satan whispering, “Dream on, God would never come that close to someone like you,” just blow him off and ask God for the sweetest, deepest, most intimate soul bond you can possibly have with the One who created you. Ask and then muster your faith and believe that all things are possible for the God who brought you and everything else into existence. God loves it when we pray BIG about our relationships with Him. And the more we pray for the right things—the things that God wants for us—the less we’ll even care about those silly earthly details.