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Small Prayers

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Psalm 68:19 NLT

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.  Psalm 68:19 NIV

Lately God has been encouraging me to pray answerable prayers. I don't know about you, but sometimes it is a lot easier to pray safe, general and broad prayers. It's so much easier to pray prayers that may be answered in the future because that means today, I don't have to deal with the disappointment of an unanswered prayer. When a burden feels particularly large, like in the case of a relationship strain or prayers for someone I love, I pray in sweepingly broad strokes. I tend to live in the world of safe prayers insulated against disappointment and unmet expectations, but I am realizing I get it all wrong when I live like this. God has so much more!

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This week, I have been pondering some things I've been praying about and I felt God ask me, "Why don't you ask for a little change in the situation today? Believe me for a step in the right direction, a movement towards grace, a slight shift in mindset today. Can you trust me with that today?" A baby prayer really. I love how God knows how to help us grow without overwhelming us. He lovingly takes our hand and shows us a different way. A small step that causes a monumental shift and a whole new world to explore with Him. 

I've spent so much time looking at the mountain and praying about the overwhelming need, I've grown discouraged and bored with the prayer. It becomes a 'to do' unattached from hope; unattached from looking for God in this situation in my day. It's much easier to fear, worry or react today than to pray. The prayer for an answer in the distant future takes away my responsibility to trust God with it today. I had forgotten I live in the today - with God. I will live in the tomorrow with God and the next tomorrow and the next one too. Life is more about stepping forward, than leaping seasons. I so often look at how far it is between where I am currently standing and the answer I am hoping for and get paralyzed. My prayers too often are future prayers - safe prayers. It's easier to relegate hope to the future rather than to live in hope and expectation now.

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I once heard it said (and then promptly forgot) that we should not pray for our future. We should pray for our day because our days strung together make the future. Matthew 6:11 says, "Give us today our daily bread." 

Practically speaking, this would look like praying today:

-for our kids' future spouse wherever they are at this moment. The difference this would make in their lives whether they are currently two or thirty-two would be monumental.

-our kids would see God in some way. If we prayed like this every day, I'm sure our kids would see God's movements in their lives.

-after a long and tiring day, we would have the space to be there in a meaningful way for our spouse. I have no doubt this would impact our marriages. If this was our daily prayer, our habit would be to love our spouses well.

-God would reveal something about Himself to us that we didn't know before. Can you imagine the growth in our lives if we were on the lookout for God daily?

-God would put something on our heart that is on His heart to pray - maybe something in the world or community. What would He share with us if we lived this openly?

-if there are any plans in the heart of someone that would cause chaos and pain in a community, God would intervene. What violence may be stopped?

-our disease ravaged friend would have comfort and peace and see the healing hand of God. What would God do in their life today to show them He is near?

-a suffering marriage would have a step towards restoration in an area. How many marriages would be saved?

-our struggling child would find a little more hope and we would have wisdom. What small thing might God do in their life today that will ignite a glimmer of hope or what wisdom may He share with us? 

-God would teach us to be more sensitive to his voice and give us the courage to do what he is asking? What would we see God do in our lives and those around us?

-for any other burdens we are carrying in our heart. What may change if we prayed for even a slight movement today? Maybe even just in our own heart and perspective?

When we practice praying for the day while in the day, we begin to look for God. Sometimes we are praying for the big miracle while the small miracles are taking place day by day and moment by moment. A lot of times an answered prayer is actually God answering the prayer in small ways along the way. It's easy to miss, but when we begin to pray for our days and look for God in them, our eyes are wide open and we aren't blind to His movements in our lives. Not only that, but we live more aware and intentionally. I don't know about you, but praying for the  today feels much more doable, much more exciting and a lot less overwhelming. I want to get in the habit of bringing my day's troubles to God because He carries me each day in His arms and daily bears my burdens

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So don't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Todays trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34

I don't want to be so overwhelmed by the big needs that I fail to live in prayerful expectation of what God will do in the life I live today. Let's bring our daily requests to God and trust Him daily. As we do that, we will ultimately have trusted Him with our lives because our lives are simply our daily lives lived. 

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