My friend Shelly is really good at big fat prayers.
Like the Tom Brady of praying, her prayers are elegant, effortless, confident - like a well-spiraled football lobbed perfectly at just the right time. Shelly prayers were something you could always count on. Nothing was too big or too insignificant for Shelly to cover in prayer.
I used to think God only wants to hear serious prayers like a cancer diagnosis, deaths, and almost giving up hope kind of prayers. But Shelly showed me that no prayer is ever too small or insignificant for God. Heavy prayers were given the same care as prayers for lost dogs, travel mercies, family disagreements, hurt feelings, and flat tires. Every prayer was treated with the same exquisite care when they fell into her folded hands.
Often my prayers read like a Saturday morning to-do list. "God do this, bless that, cover them, give them that, Amen." I'm beginning to think God likes it when we approach Him like Shelly does - with the tiniest things and the big things, too. My inkling is God wants to be a part of every fabric of our lives. More than that, I think God likes it when we pray boldly.
When Shelly prayed, she always prayed bolder than I thought to bother God with. I'll never forget the first time I had lunch with her at a restaurant. Before we hunkered down over our salads, she confidently explained to our server that we would be praying over our meal and wanted to know how we could pray for them.
No matter the server's faith, the look on their faces changed in an instant. Their attitude would shift from busy, stressed, and working hard mode, to a sort of grateful peace that would wash over them. It was a lovely thing to witness how such a small act would change them profoundly. Shelly saw them. No matter if they called themselves a Jesus follower or not. The fact that someone wanted to know how they could encourage them was the loveliest of blessings.
Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." (NIV)
I wonder if God longs for big fat prayers. Not necessarily for a beach house in Naples or BMW convertible, but more like as the scripture says with immeasurably more than we can imagine. Shelly's prayers reminded me that no request is too big or too small if it is the thing that rests in our weary hearts. By the mere fact that is a concern of our soul, God deeply cares about it.
What about you? Where could you use some big fat prayers?
My encouragement is to pray boldly today. Pray like Ephesians 3:20 invites - as a conversation with a God that can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. Pray for your neighbors, pray for your friends, pray for the grocery clerks and bank tellers, pray for big world issues and small kitchen sink whispers. If you are brave enough, ask those that cross your path how you could pray for them, as Shelly inspires. But most importantly, dare to let your prayers be powerful, meaningful, and astounding.
We serve a big God that loves it when we go ahead and pray big.