Pray about everything that matters to you.
A friend told me today something interesting. It seems that his son, Jacob, a fourth-grader, is filling his prayers with concerns for the fate of a once-great retailer: K-Mart.
At first, Jacob prayed for the corporation itself. When his parents explained that they probably didn’t need to pray for the company, he changed his tack and began to pray for all the people who stand to be out of work as K-Mart slowly goes out of business.
Honestly, I’m a bit humbled by Jacob’s prayers. When I saw the going-out-of-business sign on my local K-Mart, my first reaction was “It’s about time.” But this young man saw that sign and realized that the demise of a store would touch people’s lives. It troubled him, so he took the matter to God.
I’ve taught kids for many years, so I’ve heard many peculiar prayer requests. But in the end, is there such a thing as a peculiar prayer? If I’m sincerely concerned about something, the integrity of my tires, the neighbor’s peach tree, or the fate of K-Mart employees, then why shouldn’t I take that to my heavenly Father?
Too often, we can be lulled into thinking that topics are not lofty enough or important enough to merit prayer. That’s just wrong. In those cases when we do pray foolishly, God will gently correct us, just as those parents guided Jacob.
- Is there anything that you consider inappropriate as a subject for prayer? Why?
- What are some “trivial” things that you have felt led to include in your prayers in the past? How did those prayers work out?
- Go through your week looking for things that you normally wouldn’t include in your prayers and discuss them with God to see where they take you.
Pray like you’d talk to your best friend.
When was the last time you grew irritated with God? If you’re not comfortable with that question, then try this one on. When was the last time you grew irritated with your best friend?
I’d suggest that if you have a friend with whom you never disagree, who you never find aggravating, with whom you never argue or fuss, who doesn’t receive some harsh words now and then, then you really don’t have much of a friendship with that person.
Friendship, of course, ought to be mostly a positive thing. It wouldn’t make much sense to have someone you hated as your best friend. On the hand, though, is there anyone on this earth with whom you always agree? And if you spend a good deal of time with that person, if you really wrap your life significantly into your friend’s life, then you’re going to have some tense moments. It’s okay for friends to disagree and argue now and again.
So is it okay to disagree and argue with God? Yes, but there’s one significant difference. When you argue with God, you are, by definition, wrong. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but you’re going to wind up being wrong.
These opening verses of Psalm 5 show David as a demanding and rather gripy-sounding fellow. And that’s okay. Friends will disagree. Friends will become irritated with each other.
If you’re never arguing with God, then perhaps your friendship hasn’t reached that level of intimacy that allows such talk.
- What do you (or should you) argue with God about?
- Have you ever had the experience of being set straight after you begin to argue with God? How did He do it? How did it feel?
- Resolve to pray as earnestly and openly this week as you would talk with your closest companion.