When Ordinary is Not Enough

I’m determined to begin this new year with a renewed sense of the need for and the power of prayer in my life. 

I can tend to pray with the primary purpose of asking for what I want or think I need. It’s become a means to try to achieve the happiness I long for, but I believe that prayer is more than just a means to an end…it is the beginning, the middle, and the end. 

Prayer is my faith revealed in my relationship with my God. Prayer is the practice of my faith. It reveals my understanding that God is who He says He is…my God, Father, Savior, Friend, Counselor, Protector, Provider, Refuge, Strength, Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. 

When I understand who God is…how can I not talk to Him? How can I not bring everything to Him? How can I not lean into Him when life is too hard? 

Those were kind of meant to be rhetorical, but I’m realizing I really do need to ask myself those questions and wait for my answer.

I know who He is and how He loves me and yet I live like He plunked me down here and said, “Have at it, girlie! Good luck!” 

Goodness, I just need to look at His Word to see how much He longs for me to talk with and to Him, for me to listen quietly and trust Him.

God encourages us to pray all the time. God tells us to pray always, continually, and faithfully (Luke 18:1, 1 Thess. 5:19, Romans 12:12). Do not give up!

He doesn’t tire of us or our requests, questions, or comments, but prayer is so much more expansive than just rehearsing needs. Prayer is praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and forgiveness.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests with this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 
Acts 4:31

I’ve been praying for answers and changed circumstances, for blessings and bounty. This year, I want to pray for a change in perspective. A way of living that is marked by a constant awareness of my God and His love. 

Living like that requires me to take my eyes off what I’m dealing with, what I feel, and what I hope for, and turn my gaze to my Savior. To fix my eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:1-3)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3-4

If I’m looking at Him, my perspective will be His not mine. My thoughts will be about Him rather than me. My hope will be in what He can do in my life, not what I can do about my life. I’m always looking for fixes, ways to make things not wear me out so much…God is saying, “Look at me. Look to me. Let me handle everything. I am able to do immeasurably more than anything you could possibly come up with in this situation.” 

My imagination is so small and my plans so tiny compared to God’s. He has set things in motion I cannot even imagine. I’m so busy wanting small things to make life easier, and God is telling me to ask for big things that make life extraordinary. 

I’m not talking about a lottery win or a dramatic change of circumstances. I’m talking about things like lives changed by the Holy Spirit, healing and restoration of faith, a full understanding of how much we are loved by God, and a  peace that surpasses all understanding.

I’m so busy praying for things that are temporary that I forget to pray for eternal things. The things that truly matter. Instead of praying that God will make my children’s lives less challenging, I could pray that God uses the challenges to grow them into people of great faith, courage, and strength. That challenges would make them compassionate and kind. That difficulties would drive them to the Lord. That problems would give them an eternal perspective. 

Prayer is more than just me communicating my needs to my Father, it is me relying on my Father, renewing my faith in my Father, trusting my Father, resting in the knowledge that He loves me beyond comprehension and that He is working all things together for good…extraordinary good.

I’m so busy wanting small things to make life easier, and God is telling me to ask for big things that make life extraordinary.