The other day, I was going about my business, when God decided it was time to speak to me. I was opening the refrigerator to get something to drink and God said, “I answered your prayer and you didn’t even notice.” Wait? What? Woah, this really cut right through my heart. God was right, of course he answered my prayer and I really didn’t notice. It was a small prayer, but it was answered. In fact, it wasn’t just a small prayer, it was a silly prayer.
You see, the Saturday before, I went to the hair salon and got a new hair color. I needed a fresh look. I spent 3 hours in the salon trying to achieve the color I wanted and when all was said and done, I hated it. I didn’t say anything because the shop was closing up and we were already there for 3 hours. I kept thinking it would grow on me, but as soon as I got in my car, I started crying. The tears lasted all afternoon and into the next day. My poor husband! I felt horrible and my hair looked terrible. I immediately called the salon and left a voicemail, but they were closed on Sundays and Mondays, so I had to wait out 2 full days with really awful looking hair. On Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from the salon saying they couldn’t fit me in until the following Wednesday. That meant I had to deal with my hair color for a week and a half. I was so upset because I was going out of town to see my family over the weekend and I really wanted my hair to be fixed since I don’t see them too often. I decided to call back the salon and see if I could get put on a cancellation list and then I prayed. I told God that I knew this was a silly prayer and maybe a little vain, but I was really embarrassed by my hair color. I thought it portrayed to the world that I was somebody else and it made me feel really uncomfortable. The next day, the salon stylist calls me and says, “we got a cancellation for Thursday morning and you were the first person I thought of because I know you were going out of town.” Of course I said, “YES!” I rearranged my schedule and was super excited to go on Thursday to get my hair fixed. After I hung up the phone, I moved on with my day and left it at that, but that afternoon God said what he did, “I answered your prayer and you didn’t even notice.” Doh! I immediately repented and praised God for his answered prayer and for hearing my small cry.
This whole situation got me thinking about prayer in general. I started thinking about how I can make my prayer life more complete and I came up with a few ways. Here are four ways to change your prayer perspective:
1. CONSIDER SMALL PRAYERS: Understand that no prayer is a small prayer. All prayers, no matter how small we think they are, are important to God. We are his children and he hears our cries and though we may think our prayers aren’t that big of a deal, they are to God. We should not take prayer lightly. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
2. CONSIDER BIG PRAYERS: Remember, all prayers are the same to God. We are the ones who do the ranking. We determine what we think are big and small prayers, but God sees all of our prayers the same, as children crying out to their father. That being said, if we have ranked a prayer as a “big prayer,” we need to be patient. The reality is that sometimes our big prayers seem to go unanswered because there are a lot of factors that must take place before the full answer to that prayer comes. For instance, let’s say you’re praying for someone to come to know the Lord. It seems like it’s taking forever and you can’t figure out why God would not want this person to come to know him as their personal savior. What I have learned, over time, is that all that waiting time isn’t about me as much as I think it is. That waiting time does build our character and teach us patience, which the Lord is doing, but it’s also about the person we’re praying for and God needs that time to set up everything perfectly so that when it is time for that person to know him personally, their heart is in the right place. Remember, God’s timing is perfect? “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3) God is much bigger than we and he crosses our hearts and paths at exactly the right time to receive him fully.
3. BE GRATEFUL: This situation really pulled at my heart because I started thinking, if I don’t notice the answers to these small prayers, how could I notice the answer to the big prayers? Again, remember, all prayers are cries from God’s children, we do the ranking, but God knows we do the ranking and he uses that to teach us. Let’s take a minute and look at this verse, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 5:21) I know that this is about responsibility and about God trusting us with more, but what happens when we apply this verse to our gratefulness? It made me start thinking about God teaching me to be grateful for answers to my small prayers in order to prepare me to be grateful for my bigger prayers. The heart of this point is if I can’t give God credit for HIS doings, then I am selfish and I am not giving control to the Lord, because I am taking credit for myself for his workings. God is in control, God answered the prayer and it was not my doing. For that, I am grateful!
4. REMEMBER GOD IS BIGGER: Finally, God is bigger! We can’t forget this. God is so much bigger than us, this, everything. He is in control and we are only human. We may not ever understand why God does what he does and we may think we know more than God, especially in regards to timing, but the reality is we don’t! We don’t know anything compared to God. He is supreme and we have to humble ourselves before him and accept this reality because if we don’t we may often not notice those answered prayers and what we think is us losing hope waiting on the Lord, is really us being disobedient in our ability to let God rule our life. “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” (Colossians 1:18) God is above all!
This situation really changed my prayer perspective. I can’t believe how easy it was to dismiss God’s answered prayer for my own doing. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately and God is really working on my heart to point out my sin of pride and selfishness.
Are there any prayers in your life that you took credit for the answers? Do you remember to thank God once he answers your prayers, even the small ones? I’d love to hear about small and big prayers that God has answered in your life!