The Importance of the “Small” Prayer

My computer has died two times in the span of the past week.

The second time it died – last night – I’d made my peace.  I was ready to for it to go gently into this good night at a ripe old seven years of age, which is a lifetime for a computer.  As it turned out, my computer chose to rage against the dying of the light instead.  I tried a new fix and it decided to keep on truckin’.  For now.

But the reason I was able to make my peace with any of it at all is because, the first time my computer died, God saved my files.

I’m not joking.   When my computer completely froze up and then refused to restart or function the first time, I panicked.  I was in the process of backing up all of my files over the course of a few days, but I still had a lot of manuscripts that were just hanging out on my desktop, along with a bunch of other random-but-important documents.  I stared at the blank screen.  And then I turned my chair away from it and prayed:

So, um.  I understand that my computer and probably all the documents on it are meaningless in the span of eternity.  And I know I should hold to things lightly.  And that nothing should be more important than you.  But, you know – this is my work.  It’s everything I’ve done, and a lot of it for You, and there is no one who can save it but you.  Please, if you’re feeling merciful, God, maybe intervene for my poor files?

I finished the prayer, jotted a note about it in my prayer journal, and before I turned around my computer booted back up – just long enough for me to transfer every single solitary file left on there.  I was full of praise, but also left feeling reflective about my sheepish prayer.

Why do I feel so guilty asking prayer for things that seem small?  God is a god of details!  God cares about small things!  God cares about sparrows that fall to the ground (Matt. 10:29).  He knows how many hairs I have (Luke 12:7).  His attention to the most minor of materials used in the making of the temple and holy items in the Old Testament are astonishing.  My computer files and my writing work are not significant in the span of eternity, probably, but because they are significant to me God knows about them and cares about them.

God is aware of every small detail of your life and how it affects you.  There is nothing that is too granular for Him.  And although I understand those who reprimand against “silly” or “frivolous” prayers and it’s worth reflecting on what we are doing – because what are we trying to accomplish when we pray for a certain football team to win, exactly? – I suspect that in our desperation not to pray about “silly” or “frivolous” things we miss out on the depths of God’s care.

I once had a Sunday School teacher who hated going to the dentist – hated it – and who, when she had an appointment, would say, “I have to remember when I sit down in that chair – ‘for lo, I am with you always, even unto the dentist’s office.'”  I always laughed at the mental image of God deigning to hang out in that sterile room around tooth scrapers and models of healthy gums, but it’s not absurd at all.

God deigned to come to earth, after all.  He fed a crowd of 5,000 when he could have dispersed them.  He notices people and what they do, and He notices you.  So if you have a prayer today like my computer prayer – the one that seems a little bit foolish and “small” to pray, but that weighs desperately on your heart – then pray it!  Don’t hold back.  He already knows, anyway.  He’s ready to listen.  God can glorify Himself in parking lots and dentist’s offices and through computer reboots as well as He can through anything else.  He’s always ready to reveal Himself and to teach us and grow us through whatever experiences we might be having, even if we’re sheepish about them in the light of eternity.

Nothing is too small for a God who cares deeply about details.

 

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