We know that prayers like the Mass, the Rosary, and the Memorare are wonderful ways to draw closer to the Lord. But what about those times when we pray for parking spots or for our favorite sports team to win? Do petty prayers help our relationship with God too?
Father Matthew Spencer, OSJ recently discussed the importance of praying for small things on St. Joseph’s Workshop, and pointed out that they may be more important than we think. Fr. Matthew said:
“Are there things that God doesn’t care about in our lives? When you put it that way, you think of course not. God loves every part of my life. He’s interested in every aspect of my life. And He is. That’s unreal to think about, that your choice of cereal in the morning is interesting to God. Because He’s interested in your creativity, and in the decisions you are going to make, small and large. God wants to be part of your life at every moment.
In fact, Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, and that every moment of every day should be a prayer. So even in those minor things, it is important.
But maybe you’ve stopped and paused and wondered if these are just useless words that you are sharing, and maybe God is not going to change any circumstances. And in order to get it we have to ask ourselves why we’re praying in the first place.
When we pray, we’re not only trying to bend God’s will to ours. Or at least that shouldn’t be the only aspect of it. Sometimes that is what happens, though, isn’t it? We only turn to God when we are really in need. We only begin to pray very fervently when midterms arrive, or when our job assessment is in front of us. In desperation, sometimes when we’re even far from God we turn to Him.
But let’s also realize that when we pray for things we are strengthening and building anew this friendship, this relationship that we have with God, and that God desires with us. God sent His Son into the world that you and I might have life. And life includes a relationship with Jesus, becoming His brothers and sisters, becoming sons of our Heavenly Father.
And having a friendship with Jesus, as Jesus Himself describes to us so beautifully. ‘I call you not servants, but friends,’ He says in the Gospel of John. We are His friends when we do what He commands us. And so when we pray we are strengthening that friendship.
When we pray for small, minor things, even petty things, even seemingly pointless things, we have to reflect on the fact that maybe we aren’t going to change God’s will. But maybe by the very act of praying, my will can be changed. My desires will become more conformed to God’s desires. And also, my relationship with God will be strengthened. The more you and I pray, even in the small things, the more that friendship with God is strengthened.”
Listen to the full conversation below: