Aug 12, 2014

Praying for the big things. And the small.

It’s been a horrible week for God’s people across the globe, hasn’t it? The reports from northern Iraq and Syria of Christians being displaced, oppressed, killed, crucified even have been utterly heartbreaking. It’s impossible to talk about asking God for our daily needs without being aware that in the last three or four days alone 200,000 Christians have been forced to flee from the advancing armies of IS around Nineveh, and so today are bereft of house and food and, in many cases, loved ones. How do we respond to that?
Category:Talk of the Day General 
Posted by: DavidW


Well, Jesus has not been dethroned by this. He told us that lots of things like this would happen. This is fulfilling what Jesus said, it’s not defying it. Even this week many have entered eternal life with the Lord. They are out of death valley, they are home. For them, that is great news, however hard it is for those left behind. As Jesus said, the attackers can only kill the body. After that, they are powerless.

But also let’s remember that these are our family. We belong to a suffering, exiled community of God’s children travelling through the desert. Remember that. Let their witness make you remember that.

And let it drive you to prayer. “Give us today our daily bread.” Father, not just me, not just us in Finchley, us across the world. Your children, Give us what we need this day. That prayer has an extra edge at the moment, doesn’t it? Will you pray it? Instead of just shrugging our shoulders and sighing about yet another tragic news story, will we pray?

And actually, not just in the big things like this – in the little things of this week too, will we pray? For daily things, small scale stuff? Will we bring God into the conversation?

Because that’s important too. The small stuff of life is part of our discipleship, just as the big stuff is. Sometimes people can be thrown off track because they don’t pray this prayer when something really big happens, and so the turn away from the Lord. It’s just as easy to drift away because we don’t pray this prayer in amongst the thousands of little day to day decisions that we think are inconsequential. Bit by bit we can squeeze God out of huge sections of our daily life. And so we settle down on the desert road.

I was talking to someone about how great prayer is the other day and they were saying how helpful they find it to just pray in all sorts of situations – going to the shops, finding a parking space and so on. Many of us wouldn’t think of praying about those things. What we buy, what we do on holidays, the day to day normal bits of our work. The little things. Somewhere deep down maybe we feel that God isn’t interested. We might even feel bad praying about those things because there are other things going on in the world which are more important.

But think about that for a moment. What if we don’t pray about those things. We still go to the shops. We still do our jobs. We still park our cars. But we do each of those things without inviting God into the conversation. It’s the flipside of that materialist’s lie – the idea that we provide ourselves with what we need without having to turn to God.

When we pray “Give us today our daily bread” about small things, then we are setting those things in this bigger context of God’s rule, of him keeping us going on the journey to life. We are inviting him into the conversation, we’re seeking his will to be done even in these areas of our life. We’re therefore opening up to the possibility that this thing we’re praying about might not be what God wants for us. Buying that thing might not be help for our discipleship, it might be a hindrance. We’re inviting his action into all of these areas, our Father who knows what’s best for us. Give us today our daily bread covers all things. Right from the big stuff down to the small.