In our building we have a Prayer Room, and on the wall hangs these words:
What comes to your mind when you see these words? What does it mean to pray big?
One thing that comes to my mind is that we can only pray as big as our trust in God is. A.W. Tozer said that "what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." I fully agree with this and the congregation with a small understanding of God will be limited. Expanding one's view of God, however, is not the whole solution. One will not pray big until one's heart-trust level matches the immensity of God.
What is a heart-trust level? When we say we believe something, that is, stating a belief, we are saying that we trust something to be true. However, belief today has come to mean simply a declaration. There is little to no connection to how I live as a result of what I say I believe. If I say I believe candy is good, but never have any candy, do I really believe what I am declaring?
Looking at what the Bible means by believing, the answer is no. Unless the way you live changes, one does not believe (see James 2:18). This is the idea behind faith as the Bible talks about faith. Faith is trust and when you trust someone or something it leads to certain kinds of action that align with that trust. You can say you trust something all you want, but if it does not lead to living in a way that aligns with that trust, then you do not actually have trust.
Believing or having faith begins in the heart. The heart is not the seat of emotions, though it includes the emotions. The heart can be said to be the core of who you are. What you believe in your heart will always trump what you say you believe. That is why you and I will not pray big until our heart-trust level matches with who we know God to be.
How do we increase our heart-trust level so that we may pray big? There are multiple ways to begin, but here is just one: begin taking small steps of risk. If someone tells me try out a chair that I am not familiar with, I will take small steps to see if it holds a little bit of weight before committing my whole body to the chair. Those small steps lead to bigger steps of trust. Same with relationships. We all take small steps in trusting others that we are in the process of knowing. When we take a risk and share something, if the other person responds in a trustful way - though maybe not perfectly - it builds our heart-trust level to trust them with more.
The same goes for our relationship with God. When we take small steps of risk, where we put ourselves out there, like praying that someone would be healed of something, asking someone who serves our food if we can pray for them, or building into others to help them grow closer to God, we place ourselves in a position to trust God. The more we do that, the more our heart-trust level will grow and then we will be able to truly PRAY BIG.
Reflection: In a time of listening to the Spirit and honesty in His gracious presence, ask: do you have barriers to trusting God? Is there something you sense God calling you to but are experiencing fear in taking the risk? What is a step of risk that you want to trust God for?