As I was growing up in the Memphis area, I was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I wanted to emulate Steve Carlton. My dream was to grow up and pitch for the Cardinals. I had a transistor radio that I kept on the nightstand next to my bed, and I would lie awake at night listening to the Cardinals games. I wanted them to win every game! In fact, I wanted it so much, I would pray everyday that the Cardinals would win. As I listened to the game, if it was close, I would plead with God to help the Cardinals win. Sometimes they won, and sometimes they didn't. If they didn't win, I just decided it wasn't God's will for them to win.
Those prayers were the product of innocent childhood and childlike faith in God. Surely, a mature Christian adult would know better than to pray for something as trivial as the outcome of a sporting event ... right? Well, maybe not. I remember a time in one of my adult Sunday school classes, we were taking prayer requests, and one person asked us to pray that the Browns would win that Sunday. When the request was met with a few chuckles, the person that made the request explained that she had a friend who played for the Browns, and she wanted her friend to win. Although her request was sincere, I don't recall that request being presented to God audibly that morning.
We all pray for trivial things. We ask for good weather when we're going on vacation or have an event planned. We pray that our friends have a good time when they get together. I've prayed that God will keep my car from running out of gas so I can get to a gas station when I've been running the tank on fumes (one of my favorite challenges). I don't necessarily think it's wrong to pray such things. Our trivial requests are not going to hinder God from taking care of more important things. But one question to ponder is, what do you pray for?
Is your prayer life filled with trivial requests, asking for God to bless you today, to give you good weather, to help you get to work on time, etc.? I believe that the things we pray about reflect our perspective of who God is and who we are. If your prayer life has become trivial, start praying for God to work in the lives of others. We all have friends who need a touch from God. There are pastors and missionaries that need to be lifted up to God in prayer. We have thousands of soldiers serving around the world that are in harm's way, and many of them don't know Jesus Christ. Spend more time praying for things such as this, and your perspective of God, and of yourself will change. It will help you to move beyond a trivial prayer life so that you can see the hand of God at work.
Prayer, in and of itself doesn't "work." God works. What are you praying for?
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