Well, I'm into 1 Chronicles this week. I won't lie: 1 Chronicles is tough-going at first. There are a lot of ancient, unfamiliar names. But as I'm slugging through all these endless genealogies, I come across this one verse in chapter four--ONE VERSE--and I'm reminded of something my dad says all the time: pray big prayers. You've probably heard of this verse if you've hung around Christian circles long enough. Some guy wrote an entire book about it called The Prayer of Jabez. The verse is 1 Chronicles 4:10.
"Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!' And God granted him what he requested." (NASB)
Did you catch that last line? "And God granted him what he requested."
Now, I'm not trying to start any debates about the prosperity gospel or blah blah blah. I know from personal experience that God doesn't always answer prayer how or when I want Him to. And that's okay. I know that He is in control and that His ways are infinitely more excellent than mine.
But I also know that God tells us to pray. In the book of Luke chapter eighteen, Jesus is telling His disciples a parable about a persistent widow who continues to bother a judge until she gets what she wants. It says in verse one that Jesus told them this parable so that they would understand that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
And James 5:16 says that "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (KJV)
So instead of sitting around worrying about the world or wondering if God cares about your problems or wishing your circumstances were different, remember that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, who can sympathize with our weaknesses because He has been tempted just like we are yet never sinned. And "let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
Pray big prayers.