Praying to a Big God for Big Things
Today’s reading: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37
14 Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. Nehemiah 13:22b
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, Acts 4:23-24
How a person prays reflects much about his or her faith in and knowledge of God.
A notable feature of the book of Nehemiah is his prayer life. On a number of occasions, he asks God to “remember him” (5:19; 13:14, 22, 31). It appears that Nehemiah is comfortable turning to God in the midst of his writing. He shows a recognition of God’s holiness and his own need for forgiveness, despite his many works of obedience. At times, it seems like he is offering his works as a basis for his acceptance before God, but we should probably not judge him too severely if he did not grasp as fully as we can the grace of God through the atonement for sin made by the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, in the verse quoted above, he shows an awareness of and dependence on the love of God.
In Acts, Peter and John have been released from arrest by the chief priests after being warned not to preach in the name of Christ. What do they do? They look for their friends, their fellow believers, they make a report as to what had occurred, and then they begin to pray. How do they address God? They address Him as the “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.” What do they pray for? Well, they do not ask for safety. They do not pray for the destruction of their enemies. They pray for boldness to keep speaking God’s Word. And God hears their prayer, fills them with His Holy Spirit, and gives them continued boldness.
What can you learn from these examples of prayer? Be sure you remember who God is and what He wants of us. Pray to a big God. Pray for big things, things that you know He wants. After all, He is the Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, isn’t He?