Praying for Little Things

by Elmer Towns

Most of us live in a dichotomy. We have big spiritual projects for which we earnestly pray and seek God's intervention, but we ignore the humdrum or minutia. We beg God to move the mountains that block our way but ignore the little pebbles scattered in our path. What is the result? We see little connection between the little things in life and our spiritual walk with God. But that's a wrong assumption. It's the small pebbles that get into our shoes that make it impossible for us to climb over the mountains. It's the small pebbles that accumulate and grow until they form the mountains that block our progress. Since small pebbles make big mountains bigger, shouldn't we focus on these small stumbling blocks in our path and pray about them? The truth of the matter is that "God works His will through little things. Let's take a look at some of the minor details in Scripture on which God has chosen to focus. Seeing God in the Details of Scripture In the second chapter of Genesis, God told Adam there was one tree from which he must not eat. (Gen. 2:16-17). How many trees did God create? Probably millions! And how much fruit was on every tree? Probably abundantly more than Adam could ever eat. Yet one single tree among these many different types of trees became a focal point. In this perfect garden environment, there was one little tinyminuteprohibition. "Don't eat from this one tree." Do you see the point here? Shouldn't we pay attention to even the smallest details, knowing that it is in those minute details that Satan attempts to trip us up? Let's look at some of the events in the life of Christ. John 3:16 states that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." God only had one son, yet Christ certainly did not enter the world in a big way. He was born in a little-known town and in a little-expected place-a stable. He was born to parents who were obscure on the world's stage and unknown to anyone outside of their little village (see Luke 2:1-7). To find the Savior, the angel told shepherds in the nearby fields to look for two small details, if they would see the promised Messiah: "You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12). There were no heavenly spotlights to point out the child. The identification marks were almost imperceptible to the uninstructed eye. How's that for minute details? But isn't this the way that each of us truly discovers God? Just as the shepherds found Christ in the ordinary rudiments of life, don't we also discover God hidden in the minutia of life? The truth is that if we can't see God in the mundane routines of our daily lives, we probably won't be able to see Him in the big celebrations or when the spotlight shines on us. Seeing God in the Details of Our Jobs Do you see your job as a distraction from your spirituality? Do you ever wish that you could leave your job to do something really spiritual? Maybe join a monastery so that you could be really devoted to God all the time? After all, in the monastery, monks get to spend hours studying the Bible, or days at a time fasting, or long periods of time communing with God at a mountain retreat. It is common for Christians to feel guilty that their work-whether in the home or out in the workforce-is somehow less spiritual than being a missionary or pastor. Many feel that if they could just get away from the shackles of their job, they would be authentically holy. But this escapist mentality ignores the fact that God's plan for our lives is always active in the little details. Jesus grew up in a carpenter's home. He wasn't trained in a rabbinical school; He learned at the kitchen table under the tutelage of His mother, Mary. It wasn't until Jesus was 30 years old that He began His official ministry on Earth. Prior to that time, He worked under His earthly father, Joseph, as a carpenter (see Luke 3:23). For the majority of His life, Jesus was a blue-collar worker, fashioning pieces of wood into tables and chairs. One Greek word for "carpenter" suggests that Jesus may have also been a contractor, who built houses (see Matt. 13:55). He worked in obscurity, because the Father's plan for Jesus was for Him to identify with the common man. Even though Christ was not common, He became immersed in the everyday life of the age in which He was born. We need to see God in our mundane routines, because when we do, things such as stapling reports, cleaning the kitchen counters, or buying groceries becomes a spiritual experience instead of boring drudgery. The difference begins in our perception and expectation. And isn't all life about perception and expectation? Seeing God in the Daily Details of Drudgery Steve Sjogren, former pastor of the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, demonstrates God's love in what he calls "servant evangelism." He believes that small things done with great love will change the world, and he puts this belief into practice in his everyday life. Steve organizes his people to go out and do simple little tasks to demonstrate God's love to the community. Whether it's cleaning a house for a single mom, cutting the grass for the elderly, or any other little task, Steve teaches his congregation to demonstrate God in the small things. On occasion, Pastor Sjogren and his team will even go up to a gas station attendant and ask, "Could we clean your toilets as a practical way of showing you God's love?" Imagine willingly offering to clean the rest room of a gas station-that's a real act of love. But as Steve points out, "random acts of kindness can change the world." Whether it's a filthy job that we hate or a tedious job that bores us, we must find God in the mundane. Do the right thing in the right way, and the feelings will follow. Because God is in the mundane and we do everything for His glory, we can know inwardly that we've done the right things. And that will produce the good feelings. Little things done well with a godly purpose are a love offering to Jesus Christ. You don't have to be on your knees in a holy place to pray and experience God's presence. A toll taker sitting in a booth for hours on end may feel as if her job is boring and a trap to her advancement or happiness. Yet when she dedicates the little details of her job to God, she can transform that tollbooth into a sanctuary-a place where God dwells and where He is worshiped and praised. And God can use her pleasant smile or the happy tone in her voice as she drops change into the hands of disinterested motorists. So do your work accurately, do it intently, and do it all for the glory of God. When you dedicate everything in your life to God, you glorify Him. In the minor details of life, the work of your hand and the voice of your prayer will come together in perfect harmony. Your quiet time with God will only be effective if you live what you pray. In other words, when you have a holy life, you establish a foundation for holy prayers. Little things in life are like the threads that make up a large piece of cloth-they must be interwoven to make a whole fabric. Learning to pray for minutia adds abundance to your life because it gives purpose to every small task. And it's more than just praying as you work-it's praying because you work. As you perform each small task-in whatever you do-the minutia becomes prayer.
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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