Pray for Small Victories

Get powerful prayer results by breaking down your challenges into manageable accomplishments.

Posted in , Sep 24, 2012

Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.—Luke 18:1 (NIV)

I have a good friend who sometimes can barely get herself to leave her house or even answer the phone. Once, during a particularly bad bout, she let over six hundred unopened emails pile up in her in-box. Eventually, a mutual friend went over and helped her go through them. Later our friend told me, “ Her hand trembled on the mouse the whole time. Jenny was just terrified of doing anything.”

Jenny has a kind of paralysis caused by anxiety. What brings on that anxiety no one can say. She is very smart, usually quite independent, runs her own business and has a solid faith. Why, then, does she allow herself to be made prisoner by her own irrational fears?

I've tried to reason with her. That doesn't work, of course, since Jenny's problems are rooted deep in her psyche. So I resort to prayer, asking God to make Jenny better. Yet every time Jenny has another setback, I find myself more and more dismayed. Why aren't my prayers helping? Doesn't she want to get better?

The other day our friend mentioned that Jenny had been making progress, so I emailed her just to see. "I'm getting better,” she typed right back. How? "I've stopped asking God to fix me. Instead, I ask for help with the small things. 'God, help me get out of bed. God, help me brush my teeth and get dressed. God, help me walk out the door.' I stay focused on the next thing. Little victories.”

Sometimes it's the people we pray for who teach us how to pray. Now I pray for the small things too—not just for Jenny, but for myself. When we break down our problems for God, He helps us see them in perspective, which is itself often the most powerful answer to prayer.

Help me, Lord, to see that prayer is a process guided by You, not me, and meant to bring You into every moment of my life.


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This devotion is excerpted from Daily Guideposts.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief of Guideposts magazine and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. He's also the author of The Promise of Hope.

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