Jesus Loves The Little Children: When Prayer Doesn’t Feel Like Enough
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14
He gave me a penny. I don’t know why he gave me that penny, but I remember him holding it out and saying, “this is for you.” It wasn’t a shiny new penny. It was dull and brown, and its face had been worn down through years of use. The edges were rough as though it had been scraped along the ground or escaped an encounter with a garbage disposal.
That was somewhere around a year ago. He stopped coming abruptly a little while after that, only to turn up again recently. I’ve treasured that penny like the priceless gift it was, and kept it as reminder of its giver. Whenever I thought about that penny, I said a prayer for that little boy and his family.
Maybe I should have prayed more.
There are days when I want to get rid of all of the stuff in my house, line the walls with bunk-beds, open my door, and say to the hurting children of the world “come in you’ll be safe here.” Wednesday was one of those days. After all when you already have five children, what’s one more? Or seven. And maybe a very nearsighted grandmother.
One room for the girls, one room for Grandma, and the basement for the boys. Should work out just fine, right?
Except that it doesn’t really seem really possible right now. My life has it’s own craziness and uncertainties.
As I made a note to myself to pray for two families in need, it didn’t feel like enough. I felt like I should do more, like I should do something. And praying didn’t feel like doing anything. In that moment saying a prayer felt like a cop-out.
Yes, there are canned goods and clothes being collected, and someone is having Grandma’s broken glasses replaced, but that doesn’t feel like enough either.
It feels like a band-aid. And hurting hearing hearts need more than a band-aid. Especially little ones.
For many, if not most, first world Christians our “can do” far exceeds our “will do.” I admit that’s been me on more than one occasion, and I’m sitting here wondering if this is one of those situations. Surly there is something I’m missing.
Sometimes though our “will do” exceeds our “can do.” Sometimes we have to accept that we have limits, and that what we want to do is impossible.
But here’s the thing about God, there is no limit to His “can do.” There is nothing that is impossible for Him.
And the best thing we can do is pray.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)
I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. I’ve seen lives changed, marriages restored, wayward children find their way, and situations beyond the control of any man resolved, all through the prayers of righteous men and women.
In those situations God gets all the glory.
None of us can sit back and say, “Look what I did,” because we didn’t do anything. Except pray. We pray and cry out to God and He does everything else.
None of us is tempted to rob God of the glory that belongs to Him in every circumstance.
God desires us to abandon our plans and trust Him to do more than we can imagine.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Praying is doing something, and sometimes it really is the only thing we can do.
There will times though, when God asks us to put feet to our prayers. There will be times when He moves on us to be the change we are asking for. Sometimes it will be us that hear the whispers from that Still Small Voice prodding us to reach out to the broken and hurting.
Maybe those are the times when our prayers don’t feel like enough.
We need to be ready for those times. While we’re doing all of our praying over those impossible situations, we need pray for ourselves too. We need to pray that God would not only give us the ability to respond, but also a heart that is willing to respond.
I can’t give those children what they really need, but I can be there for the few hours a week that they are in my care. I can find out what they need right now, and help them get it. I can call them by name, and offer them a kind smile. I can tell them, and show them, that God loves them, and they are special to Him. I can point them to the cross where they can find forgiveness of sins, which is the greatest need any of us have.
Maybe I can’t do everything, but what I can do I will do.
What about you? Are there things that you could do, or are you frustrated by what you can’t do? Don’t be discouraged by what you can’t do. Give it to God in prayer and find out what He can do. Then ask Him to show you what you can do.