I used to think that the most spiritual praying was about big-ticket items—you know, evangelism, revival, and justice for cities and nations. And it certainly is important to pray for God’s kingdom to come to earth in these large-scale ways. However, when church prayer leaders ask me why I think it’s so hard to get their people to pray for these significant causes, I sometimes suggest that it could be because people don’t see enough of the power and love of God in their everyday experience. They need to personally experience God as a God who saves. If they don’t experience God saving them out of their everyday problems, if they can’t see Him helping them lick their own bad habits, if they haven’t known Him to bring justice to their unfair work situation, why would they have faith to ask God to do similar things on a global scale? It’s hard for us to pray for really big and impersonal needs if we don’t have regular experience of God’s mercy and kindness in our personal, everyday lives.
God recently took the initiative to give me another example of this principle. A couple of months ago I realized that I only could only locate one key for my car. If I ever lost that solitary key I’d be up a creek. I was pretty sure this out-of-the-blue realization was God trying to help me.
Thanks God, You’re right. I need to get a key made. Thanks for watching out for me. And I made a mental note to get a key made soon.
But never followed through.
Several weeks later I was getting ready to leave the house for an appointment when I couldn’t find my keys. I searched high and low. In obvious and obscure places. I even looked in the freezer in case I’d absent-mindedly put my keys there when I was putting away groceries (crazier things have happened!). I remembered that God had been challenging me to let Him rescue me in everyday stuff, so I asked Him to help me find my keys. But still no success. About an hour later, I went to my desk to look up the number for a locksmith. I was beating myself up not just for losing my key and missing my appointment, but also for failing to follow through on God’s prompting that would have spared me all this trouble. I figured the price of paying a locksmith was the consequence I deserved for not listening to God—and was probably why He’d not answered the 911 prayer I’d just prayed.
But He disagreed with my perspective. I’m not punishing you, I heard Him say gently in my spirit. I just need to get your attention so you will get that key made. It’s important. And even as His words were sinking in, I noticed my keys, in plain sight on my desk—the only place in the entire house I hadn’t searched!
The next day I was at the hardware store to have a new key made. As I handed the old one to the salesman, he examined it, then looked me in the eye and said, “You’re not a day too early.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“This key is warped and beginning to crack. It’s about to break. It’s a good thing it’s never broken in your ignition or you’d be in a world of hurt. I suggest you throw it away as soon as we get you a new key made.”
Awed, and extremely grateful, I asked the salesman to make me two new keys. But I didn’t throw away the old one. I kept it as a reminder that my God saves. Even in little, everyday things. He loves me. He speaks to me. He intervenes in my life to show His care for me. Whether my needs are big or small, He loves to come to my rescue.
My thoughts quickly turned to people I know—and even ones I don’t—who don’t know there’s a God who loves them and wants to rescue them and be part of their everyday lives. With my recent experience gratefully in mind, I prayed for them with a surge of fresh faith. After all, aren’t most of the “big-ticket prayer requests” simply the needs of many individuals who all need to know that God cares about the stuff of their lives? If He cared enough to help me with a key problem I didn’t even know I had, won’t He care at least that much about their brokenness, oppression, blindness, and despair? I know He will.