I’ve been thinking a lot over the past 24 hours about prayer (again!). I’ve been wondering whether one of the primary reasons we get discouraged in prayer relates to what we pray about — and what we remember praying about. Because we typically pray a few ongoing prayers that feel super important, but that haven’t yet been answered (for salvation for a particular loved one or healing for someone close), we get discouraged with the thought that we never see any answers to prayer.

But what about all those smaller daily prayers we pray? Especially those that line up closely with Scriptural examples? I have seen so many of these types of prayers answered — lots and lots of times. And maybe you have too.

  • I’ve prayed so many prayers for various Christians to grow in their faith — that have been answered.
  • I’ve experienced God’s filling with his Spirit and boldness for ministry — even effective ministry — when I’ve asked for it, including at moments when I’ve felt emotionally and spiritually spent.
  • I’ve prayed against the Evil One and asked God to deliver me from evil in general. Over and over I’ve received answers to such prayers.

What about all these thousands — yes, at my age, thousands! — of answers to smaller prayers? Not dramatic miracles (though occasionally those), but regular daily-life prayers? Nehemiah-like prayers:

Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven (Neh 2:4).

Like Nehemiah, I’ve prayed for the right words to say during tension-filled conversations. How many times have I seen that kind of prayer answered? Hundreds, I’m sure.

Regular, small prayers. Asking God to give me gentleness … or sustain me … or increase wisdom.

Yesterday, I called Trudi and asked her to pray for me since I was about to teach a class. I was short on sleep, church leadership cares weighed upon me, and only five minutes prior I had received a rejection letter for a book I had proposed months ago. I was facing six hours of teaching. Trudi and I prayed that God would strengthen me, give me a clear mind, help me forgive the editor’s unneeded delays, allow me to temporarily set aside the weight of church leadership, lift my spirit, and empower me to effectively connect with my students.

All those prayers were answered.

When I struggle with seemingly unanswered prayers, I need to remember all the times God has answered prayer. Dozens of prayers a week. Real answers to prayer. Answers to small prayers.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray bold prayers. But it does remind us to acknowledge all the ways that God has answered our less-dramatic prayers. Consequently, let’s keep praying these little prayers (how little are they, really?), and remember all the times he has answered.[1]

For related posts on prayer, see THIS, THIS, and THIS.

This post and other resources are available at Kindle Afresh: The Blog and Website of Kenneth Berding.


[1] Most of this post was taken directly from my personal journal, March 28, 2024, with a few stylistic updates and the addition of the final paragraph. The “past 24 hours” and “yesterday” of the post come from my journal entry.