I’m trying to find the verse in the Bible where Noah prays that his ark passes smog. Or what about the time when Timothy prays that God helps him with his next mid-semester test? Is it in 2
Hesitations where Ezekiel prays that his dog gets over a cold?
Of course these prayers are not in our Bible, and I have to ask myself: are these really the prayers that God wants to hear? After ministering to junior high students for more than 10 years, I’ve heard a lot of prayers for tests, grandmas and pets. I always wrote it off to maturity, but now even in my “adult settings” I still hear people ask God for seemingly mundane things.
Is this the God that I worship? I know Jesus said that He knows the thread count of hair on my head (Matthew 10:30) and that the Lord is intimate with the daily activities of sparrows (Matthew 10:29). These are Jesus’ reassurances to the 12 before He sends them out to spread the Gospel. This is His pep talk so that they are not afraid of the world outside their doors.
But does Jesus want us to treat our prayers as if He is the God of trivialities? I don’t know. I don’t have a biblical example of someone praying for a seemingly trivial thing. I feel weird asking God to help me at the DMV or, even worse, asking God to help our team win a contest.
I think of Job more often now when I come before God with questions. Job had complaints about his life and how things were going on his end, things that to us were definately not trivial. So how does God answer Job?
"Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? … Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.”
The Lord goes on for an entire chapter to discuss the ins and outs of His creation and how He is intimate with all of nature, and then He asks …
"Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?"
Then Job replied to the Lord, "I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence.”
Wow, that’s how I feel. Other translations have Job saying, “I am insignificant.” I am coming before the Lord to speak to the creator of the earth—the Lord, who designed the four corners of the winds and who spoke the stars into place. The best prayer that I can offer Him is one about trivial day-to-day life and blessings for family members? I think that Jesus was trying to tell His disciples that we should not worry about life, because God already knows the trivial things in our walk, those “basics”—He has in control.
My challenge should be to come before God and offer Him prayers of humility and brokenness. Like Job, I should be saying, “I am nothing.” I want my prayers to reflect what is really going on in my heart.
– I am scared about my abilities to spread the Gospel in His world.
– I am uncertain of my future in God’s design.
– I am frustrated in my habitual sin.
– I am floored by the awesome grace and power of my creator.
Of course, there will always be requests for daily health and welfare, and I think that we can’t help but stand before God like children sometimes and ask Him for the small things. I can hear Paul calling me a spiritual child (1 Corinthians 3:2) in my ear as I ask the Lord for milk when I know He can offer me so much more.
Oh, God, help my prayers to be of substance and authenticity.