original photo by ecstaticist
One of my favorite subjects to read about is prayer. I'm not sure exactly why; perhaps because it's one of the subjects of faith that I can implement so directly into my life and that has had such a profound impact.
Regardless, I was staring at our expanse of IKEA bookshelves and the treasure trove of resources Michael and I have accumulated. I decided to pick a few of the books that have touched me the most and share some of my favorite insights from them.
As the first from my collection, I pulled out Pray Big by Will Davis, Jr. He's a pastor out of Austin, and has written a whole series on the concept of "praying big"--there's a book about praying big for your marriage, for your child and for yourself. This book, though, is the keystone for all the others.
Davis describes this concept of "praying big": "Prayer should be as big as God's promises and as full as God's resources. Your requests should require the full power and provision of God." These are the prayers that depend fully on God--only he can make them happen. And when he does--then your faith grows by leaps and bounds and our relationship with him becomes stronger.
How can you discover these kinds of "big" prayers for your own life? Davis suggests:
- Examine your concerns. "Are you worried about your marriage, your career, a friend's salvation?" Davis asks. Those are perfect things to put into prayer and ask God for. Also, consider your passions and the things you love to do or would like to do more of. Finally, is there anything you're afraid to ask God about? I've definitely had those kinds of prayers that are hard to give over, but that's exactly what we must do.
- Find verses in the Bible that state what you want God to do--in your life, in a specific situation, etc.
- Finally, get specific in what you're asking him. Have you ever heard anyone talk about make things measurable when it comes to setting goals? It's kind of the same thing here--when prayers are general, we can tend to wax over them and shrug the answers off. But when we pray as specifically as needed, we become more aware of the ways God answers us.
- For my marriage: I pray to be a Proverbs 31 kind of wife, that God would make me a woman Michael trusts, that I would greatly enrich his life, and do him good and not harm all of my life.
- For my job: I pray that God will provide an income for us and a job that I enjoy. This is one instance where my prayers may not seem all that specific, after all--but they're open-ended for a reason: When I was moving to Grand Rapids, I knew I wanted to work in Christian publishing, so I prayed accordingly so. Now, I'm not sure what I want to do. So I have turned the specific element on its head and am asking God to pick the job for me that will meet these two essential needs and leaving the details up to him.
- For my future: I'm praying about us being able to save up money for a future home purchase, that I will continue growing in my homemaking (ahem, culinary) duties, and that God will begin paving the way for Michael's career so that we can be prepared when we start our family.
- For my spirit: One thing I ask is that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and gaze upon his beauty (from Psalm 27).