pronoun: all that exists, each item, all things of importance

“That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.”  Mark 11:24

“Dear God, thank you for everything, amen.”

That was my simple (and quick and probably very lazy) bedtime prayer most nights as a child. In my mind, it efficiently covered every single person and thing that I was thankful for, and besides–God already knew all my needs and requests, right? In my hurry to keep it short and climb into the covers, I managed to miss the whole point.

So what is the point of Jesus’s message here? What does he want us to know about prayer?

He instructs us in this verse to pray for the smallest things to the largest things. To include everything as we embrace this God-life.

Of course we bring him the big things. We pray about life changes, health issues, tough decisions and difficult circumstances. We look to him when we need direction and guidance and help. And we thank him for the ways he brings healing and money and answers at just the right time.

But the small things? I just have such a hard time imagining that he would be interested in whether I find a good parking place or what I am going to make for dinner. Does he really care about my day at work or the football game we are going to this weekend?

How do we reasonably “include everything as we embrace this God-life”?

To embrace–to welcome with open arms. To accept what is happening in our life with God. If we are able to do that, if we can wrap our hearts around what Jesus is doing and wants to do in us and with us, we are going to get God’s everything. Wow.

Jesus really did tell us to pray about absolutely everything. He was matter-of-fact about it. But he did not say that he will make everything go our way, or that he will answer every prayer the way we want him to. Nope. I don’t think that is supposed to be the point.

I think the point is that he wants us to know that he cares deeply about us. He wants to share life with us. Every feeling, every choice, every worry, every joy, every breath. Everything good, bad, little, big, awful, and wonderful. If it matters to us, it matters to him who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.

So when I’m walking from a far-away parking spot in the freezing wind and rain, I can talk to Jesus. I can ask him to teach me something, to show me someone, to bring good and further his kingdom. I can ask him to refresh my heart and soul with his very presence. I can include him as I check off my to-do list, run my errands, and communicate with the people in my life. I can embrace whatever is happening because he is right there with me. And he wants to be.

Maybe we miss everything when we rush and filter our prayers.

Because maybe we accidentally miss Jesus…

Invite Him In:

What would it be like to start bringing every part of your life to him? Want to try it? Ask him to come close. Ask him to help your mind and heart to turn to him, to talk to him about not only the big things, but also about the smallest details of your day. Ask him to show you his presence, his purpose, his goodness in whatever is going on. You matter to him more than you know, and he wants to be right there with you. In everything.