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are my prayers too small?

Don’t be slow to recognize God is answering your prayers

I’m sure most of us would admit that prayer is a struggle for us. Or, at the very least, it’s a spiritual discipline in which we need to grow. Reflecting on my own challenges with prayer, and the actions I’ve taken to try to improve my prayer life, I had a “Shazam” moment. And it came after a day of fretting.

The last two years have been difficult with regard to anxiety and worry for me. Theologically, I know I don’t need to worry, but it’s there.1 I’m working on this, but admittedly, it’s not easy. My prayers on this front tend to be in the vein of “I believe, help my unbelief.”

Anyway.

Fast forward to Monday morning. I was feeling particularly anxious about a project we’ve been working on. Emily listened as I spiraled and then suggested we pray that what needed to happen would that day, which we did. And, wouldn’t you know, it did indeed happen, within an hour of our time praying.

Which is amazing… But here’s the thing: it took until Tuesday night while we were making dinner for me to realize it.

30 hours later. 

So, yeah.

This got me thinking again about my prayer life, and my struggles with prayer. And I think one of the things it helped me realize is that I don’t often stop long enough to recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the answers to prayer that actually come. And that, I suspect, is a huge barrier to a stronger and more consistent prayer life. So this is what I’m trying to do more of, starting today. And how I’m going to do it is shockingly simple:

I’m going to write down what I pray about in a notebook, and record how and when I see some kind of answer.

This isn’t particularly mind-blowing advice. In fact, you’ve probably had it suggested in at least one small group study, book on prayer, or sermon series. But here’s the simple truth: if we don’t acknowledge—and especially celebrate—the answers God does provide (of which there are many), we’re leaving ourselves open to doubting his ability to answer. And the more we doubt his ability to answer, the more apathetic we risk becoming about prayer. And the more apathetic we become about prayer, the less we actually pray.

And I don’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my family. And I don’t want that for you, either.

So when you’re struggling with prayer, consider what God has already done, and rejoice in that. Ask him to help you see how he has been at work in your life for his glory and your good. Because he is. All the time. Even when we’re not paying attention.


  1. I have no doubt a significant portion of this is related to the extreme stress I’ve been dealing with over the last several years with work and financial demands, moving, family health issues, and so on. I once did a stress test that scores how much stress you’ve been under and evaluates the likelihood of having a breakdown, and it said I’m basically a sure thing. I’m praying that won’t be the case. ↩︎
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