Praying Smaller

By Beth Demme

Praying Smaller

You know how in the Lord’s Prayer we pray: thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

I wonder if, for me, this is too big. I wonder if I should pray smaller.

It’s not that I don’t think God can accomplish big things. This isn’t an indictment on the power of God.

This is an indictment on the condition of my heart.

Maybe I should pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done in my life as it is in Heaven.”  Maybe I need to start with myself.

Praying for the world makes me feel less responsible. Please hear me: this probably isn’t true for you. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I’m confessing something about myself.

When I pray for God to change the world, I tend to sit back and wait for God to do something. I fail to do my part in creating change because subconsciously I’ve turned that over to God. I’ve alleviated myself of any responsibility.

Also, when I pray for “The World,” I’m not really inviting change in my own life. I’m thinking of those people out there, not this person right here.

This is similar to another biggie for me – conveniently avoiding my own issues by focusing on other people’s “sins.” But that’s a conversation for another day …

Praying smaller means praying that God will change me[Twitter Link]

If every single person prayed this, the world would change, wouldn’t it? The kingdom would come. God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, one life at a time.

Praying for myself instead of the whole wide world might sound selfish, but I don’t mean it that way. I mean it in a Joy to the World kind of way.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing.

If I have a mantra for 2016, it’s this: Let my heart prepare Him room.

“Preparing him room” means that in my own life the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Beth, needs to reign.

The song Joy to the World has always been special to me. When Stephen and I got married twenty years ago, it was the song that played as we left the sanctuary arm in arm, overjoyed to be husband and wife.

I selected this song back in 1995 because I wanted to celebrate joy. The joy that God brings, the joy that a happy marriage brings, and the genuine joy I felt in my soul.

Two decades later, I better understand the connection between joy and a heart that has prepared God room.

It’s not that God needs a place to live. It’s that when my heart is full of selfishness and self-sufficiency (and other junk), there isn’t any room for God.

This year I’m going to declutter my heart. I’m going to make more room for God.

I think I’ll start by praying smaller.

Dear Lord,
Let my heart prepare you room.
Your will be done in my life.
Thanks, um, I mean,
Amen.

What do you think about praying smaller? Do you see how praying for the world is different from inviting change in your own life? Do you have a word or a mantra for 2016? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.


More like this from Beth:

A Christian who loves to think, read, and laugh. A wife and mom with more love than I deserve. I have a passion for public speaking. I'm a licensed Methodist pastor, a blogger, and a lawyer, but wait ... there's more, I'm still figuring it all out.

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6 thoughts on “Praying Smaller

  1. I love this Beth. Absolutely love love love love this. God has blessed you with such amazing insight and the ability to put it into words. Thank you for sharing each week. My personal theme for 2016 is “let go”. I figure it encompasses so much, but letting go of all the junk that clutters my soul and keeps me from being on the path that God has for me is priority #1. This week’s blog is a perfect perspective to help me keep that goal on track.