I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like the only prayers I'm "supposed" to pray are the big ones- prayers for God to change the world, reach the lost, transform a city- epic, earth-shifting kinds of prayers. On some level, I have always felt a little uneasy praying for normal, every day things. Praying for my daily bread, my drive to work, or an upcoming meeting can sometimes feel selfish and small. And yet I can't escape from the truth that God has invited us to pray about all things, thank Him for all things, and trust Him in all things.
So last week, my wife and I were having a time of prayer together before bed. Our hearts have been heavy lately for our oldest daughter Alyssa. She is smart, creative, driven and funny. But these same positive qualities can also mean she is bossy, rude, and defiant. When we see the darker side starting to outweigh the God-giftings she's been given, we start to worry. And we tend to pray more.
As we were praying for Alyssa, one of our requests was along the lines of "selfish and small" in my mind. Alyssa had a sock hop coming up at school and we had no poodle skirt. How do you send a 7-year old to a sock hop without a poodle skirt? And where exactly do you find a poodle skirt? Target doesn't carry them, I can tell you that much. Anyway, this was on my heart, and so I prayed, "God, would you somehow give Alyssa a poodle skirt to show her how much you love her?" I think I prayed it this way because awhile back I had asked Alyssa if she was interested in being baptized. Her response was, "No, because I still do too many bad things." I could hear in her voice that she was worried about how God felt about her. So, this prayer seemed appropriate.
The next day, about 3:00 PM (t-minus 3 hours until the sock hop started), my office phone rings. I usually don't pick up, but I was the only one in the building at the time, so I answered. On the other end, a gal from our church says, "I made Alyssa a poodle skirt for tonight. When can you pick it up?" And at that moment, for the first and likely only time in my life, I cried over a poodle skirt. I was overwhelmed by a sense of the Father's love for my child; my wonderful, obnoxious, learning, growing, faith-filled child. When I went home and presented her with the skirt, I could hardly get through the words as emotion grabbed my throat, "Alyssa, God loves you so much He gave you a poodle skirt!"
On your journey, may you know with absolute certainty that your small prayers matter, too, because you matter. God loves you more than you can comprehend and He loves to hear you ask for gifts from His hand.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
(I John 3:1)
PS- The sock hop was fantastic. I think we all danced for joy!