I have for some time been at a loss when it comes to praying about having a child. Our pastor has challenged us more than once about our prayer lives to “pray big.” The point being that we ask too little of God, and he’s just waiting for someone to go all out. The challenge being that we ought to pray for things that will make much of God; we most often pray for God to handle small things in our lives without venturing beyond the Sunday School requests. We far less often ask for God to do something huge, like bring 50 new visitors to our church service this week (or even 5 for that matter).
Of course, this challenge hit more than a few sore spots. My prayer life is probably the least consistent and least disciplined part of my spiritual life. Ouch. I find it easy to believe that God still performs miracles, but I find it difficult to imagine that he would do so just because I asked. More ouch. The greatest subject of prayer in my life for the last four years has been miscarriage/baby related – usually along the lines of, “Lord, I can’t handle any more of this,” which hardly makes much of God. But, more than that, I have no idea what I should pray in this situation that will glorify God. So much ouch that I will punch you if you touch it again.
Before I finish this train of thought, please note that I am not at all saying that we shouldn’t pray about the small things. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing. God can be glorified in the tiniest details of our lives when we give him credit for working out those details and rely on him to do so. I am, however, echoing the challenge to pray big. Why don’t we? Why are we offended by the suggestion?
Personally, I am afraid to commit to a particular line of prayer when I can just pray for God’s direction and for him to do his will. Of course he’s going to do his will! But am I willing to stick my neck out and ask for what I want? Not so much. I am technically being faithful in prayer by asking him to do his will, but it is not the type of prayer that will change the mind of God, a la Moses. Exodus 32:14 tells us that the Lord changed his mind about destroying the disobedient Israelites after Moses pleaded for them. I don’t know that I’ve pleaded with God in such a manner that I could change his mind. I’m not sure how I would handle it if the answer to my pleading was “no,” so I have refrained from pleading all out.
I work with 5th and 6th grade kids on Wednesday nights at church, and several weeks ago one of them taught me a giant lesson through the tiniest request. Someone had left a package of M & M’s sitting out on a table for several weeks and one of the boys asked a teacher if he could take them. One of the other boys saw this happen and realized that the children’s ministry director probably had more M & M’s, and he might get his own pack if he asked Miss Rhonda. As Miss Rhonda consented and went to get him a pack, this boy looked at me with an expression that said, “Can you believe what just happened? All I had to do was ask!” (Where are the spiritual band-aids, as the ouch is now a grievous wound…)
Since that Wednesday night, I have sheepishly, in the manner of a child asking for some outrageous Christmas present that his parents will never in a million years consent to buy, been asking God if I can have a baby. I keep asking God if I can carry my own child and hold it in my arms, even if his answer is no – even if it breaks my heart again.