Open Handed Prayers

There have been times in my prayer life when I’ve felt I was asking God for too much. The amount of faith required seemed like a stretch to get to the end goal, to receive the thing I most wanted. In the midst of such requests (like wanting to be engaged, wishing for the perfect job, or asking for His provision in some tangible way) I tiptoed around in prayer, afraid I might jinx myself and ruin my chances of getting what I really wanted.

Those requests seemed too big, too risky, and I thought by putting my feelings on the table and making my heart vulnerable before the Lord, I was just asking too much.

In hindsight, it sounds silly. God is a mighty God (Psalm 95:3), the one who formed the heavens and spoke light into being (Genesis 1:1–3). Think about that. It was dark. God spoke. Light existed. Sounds so simple, but you and I both know that speaking words rarely leads to seeing results. “I shall now be thin!” … nope, still weigh the same. “I want a million dollars!” … nah, still broke. We know the speaking of light into existence is a mind-blowing thought, yet we’ve heard it so often we sometimes forget the depth and power required for such a thing to actually happen. 


Now tell me this: if the same exact God who spoke light from darkness, created man from dust (Genesis 2:7), and brought His one and only Son back from the dead (Matthew 28:6) not only hears your prayers (1 Peter 3:12), but knows them before you speak them (Psalm 139:4) … is there anything too big to ask of Him?

I would venture to say that no, there is not. There is nothing too big to ask, because our finite minds cannot dream up anything that is bigger than the power of Christ. Now, I’m not telling you to go and ask for that million dollars and just keep checking your bank account until you see it.

I don’t subscribe to the health-and-wealth prosperity gospel that promises an easy life of pie-in-the-sky blessings and provision. God doesn’t give us everything we want, because He knows what we need. He knows what is best — better than we could fathom — and part of life this side of heaven means enduring hardships and trials (John 16:33), and hearing the word “no” often. It builds faith, patience, and endurance (James 1:2–4).

But what I do know to be true is that God is a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). The desires of your heart that bring you joy, make your palms a little sweaty, and your heart race? Those were instilled in you by that same gracious Father (Psalm 37:4). So when you start to pray big prayers that align with His Word and His will, there’s really nothing too big to ask (James 4:2–3).

I was recently praying over a financial situation my husband and I were facing. We came up with a plan and I presented a neat and tidy request to the Lord, sure that he would answer because the plan was responsible and safe.

But God did not answer my “safe” request — in fact, the door was slammed shut. I couldn’t understand why, but with a slightly wounded heart and a “no”-shaped chip on my shoulder, I kept praying.

Exactly one week later, the Lord answered by fulfilling a desire of my heart that I had not even articulated — one I hadn’t even though to ask for because it seemed too good, too far out of reach.

How specific and kind is our God, that He provides what we need in ways we didn’t even think to ask. I felt humbled, reminded once again that He sees the bigger picture, and there is nothing too big to ask Him.

I would be wrong if I told you, “Just believe and you’ll get everything you ever wished for!” because we all know that faith doesn’t lead to getting everything we want. But I do want to encourage you today to pause and evaluate your prayer life. What fear is there in your prayers that is keeping you from asking in faith? What is the root of your desire? Is it to bring you one step closer to Jesus and equip you to live a kingdom-centered life? Or is it a selfish motive, built on the mindset that if you just get that thing, everything will be great?

God knows our hearts and our motives (Proverbs 16:2). Nothing is hidden to Him (Hebrews 4:13). If you have an outrageous request, you can bring it to Him, because He already knows it’s there in the deep parts of your heart that no one else can see (2 Chronicles 16:9).

So my encouragement to you is to do some real heart-searching when it comes to prayer. God is not surprised or caught off-guard by big requests. Of course, He might not answer in the way we expect, or in the way that makes sense to our simple minds. But I do believe He delights in our faith when we open our hands to Him and trust Him with the outcome (Psalm 147:11).

Pray big prayers today. Believe that He knows them before you even speak them, and be willing to trust Him with the results. Don’t let the enemy quench your faith or reduce your prayers to “safe” bite-size chunks. Bring your big, bold, faith-filled prayers before the Lord and lay them out on the table with an open hand and a trusting heart. There is nothing too big for our God.

Your friend,


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