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Preaching Articles

Craig Groeschel: "What you pray for reflects what you believe about God."

Personal Reflection: How's your prayer life? Do you feel like it is bold and alive or too tame? What changes do you need to make in your prayer life today?



Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv. Meeting in multiple locations around the United States, and globally at Church Online, LifeChurch.tv is known for the innovative use of technology to spread the Gospel. He speaks at conferences worldwide and has written several books, including his recent release: Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working

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Fernando Villegas

commented on Sep 20, 2011

I don't necessarily disagree, but there is a danger in praying only "big" prayers, in that we can easily forget that God is intimately involved in the small, seemingly insignificant details of our lives. Remember that in the cave where Elijah was hiding, God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He was in the still, small voice. Miracles are great, and God is still able to perform them. But let's not get so caught up in our "big" prayers that we forget the small prayers of asking God to be present with us in the everyday moments of our lives.

Jimmie Don Willingham

commented on Sep 20, 2011

Your Comments

Jimmie Don Willingham

commented on Sep 20, 2011

This is the third time I have tried to present the facts concerning praying for a Third Great Awakening and every soul on earth being converted beginning with this generation and continuing for a 1000 generations (and 20,000 years) and reaching thousands and thousands of planets as man kind spreads through the stars.

Spencer Miller

commented on Sep 20, 2011

I have to agree with this preacher in that God doesn't want us to hold back on our prayers to Him. He said, "Whatsoever you ask in my Name..." and the whatsoever means not limited to this or that. Elijah prayed big prayers, so much so that his prayers to God brought down both fire and rain.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Sep 20, 2011

Spencer, like I said, I don't disagree with that. Of course we shouldn't hold back on our prayers. I do disagree with your statement: "[W]hatsoever means not limited to this or that." There are, in fact, limits to the "whatsoever." First John 5:14 limits the "whatsoever" to God's will, and James 4:3 says we won't receive "whatsoever" if we ask wrongly, to spend it on our passions. Sometimes it is God's will, for example, for a disease to remain unhealed; and it is no more a cop out to ask that God's will be done than it was for Jesus to pray in Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours be done." Do some people use it as a cop out? Sure, but that's no reason not to wrestle seriously with what it may mean to pray according to God's will. And sometimes, my prayer for that "big" promotion at work has to do more with my own pride than with God's glory. My larger point, however, is not that we should hold back, not that we shouldn't pray "big" prayers; but rather my point is simply to balance Mr. Groeschel's message with the reminder that we can get so caught up with the "big" prayers that we become blind to the presence of God both in the suffering of unanswered prayers as well as in the small, seemingly insignificant moments of our lives. Yes, God answered Elijah's prayers in 1 Kings 18 with fire and rain. But if Elijah had expected fire and rain everytime he prayed, he would've missed God's presence in the still small voice of 1 Kings 19. Let's not ignore one by focusing exclusively on the other, is all I'm saying.

Mark San Pablo

commented on Sep 21, 2011

As I understand Pastor Craig's message, we are encouraged to pray big prayers for GOD's glory. It doesn't mean you forget the small prayers; it's that small prayers have been our staple everyday for years that it's time to ask GOD to use us in mightier ways to display His power to do big, impossible things for HIS glory. Of course you don't take answered prayers--yes, small things included--for granted by not thanking GOD for answering them. We should thank GOD for everything, big things and small. What Pastor Craig emphasizes here is that GOD takes care of the small things let's not be too concerned about them. We need to get our hearts more on praying for and doing bigger things for the least of the LORD's brethren: caring for the lost, healing the sick, leading people to Christ. That still, small voice talking to Elijah was NOT small at all. It was GOD's powerful voice! We need to wake up from our bed of convenience surrounded with small, ordinary things and pray for and do big and mighty things for the LORD!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Sep 21, 2011

I agree with the major thrust of what you're saying, Mark; as I do with Spencer. But what you are saying is NOT what is being communicated by the clip. I understand that the clip is only a part of a larger message, so I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that some of the things we're discussing were also discussed in the rest of his message. But the clip is all we have to work with, so in the absence of its original context, I'm simply trying to place it into a larger, biblical context of what prayer means. So, I listened to the clip again, and Mr. Groeschel emphatically mocks what he considers "small" prayers: thanking God for the day, asking for his presence, asking for traveling mercy. He imagines God saying, "Put on your seatbelt, drive the speed limit, and chances are you'll be OK." Well, I buried an 18 year old college student who was killed in a car accident on his way home for the weekend. I'm sure he also thought he'd be OK. But we can't take ANYTHING for granted! NOTHING IS TOO SMALL TO PRAY FOR!! Acts 4 is a wonderful passage that teaches us about prayer. But you can't build an entire theology of prayer based only on Acts 4. You wrote: "That still, small voice talking to Elijah was NOT small at all. It was GOD's powerful voice!" But that's my point. It WAS the voice of God, but it was MANIFESTED in a still, small voice. And we are constantly surrounded by the "bigness of God," but we miss it because it's so small and ordinary, we don't think twice about it. The priest who dedicated Jesus when he was eight days old held the creator of the universe in his arms, and all he saw was just another baby!!!! You wrote: "We need to wake up from our bed of convenience surrounded with small, ordinary things and pray for and do big and mighty things for the LORD!" Well, the fact is that the vast majority of our lives, even the lives of "important" people, is lived in the midst of the small, ordinary details. AGAIN, yes, let's pray for big things. Nothing is too big for us to pray for. But if we dismiss the small things in our lives as unworthy of our prayers, as Mr. Groeschel strongly seems to imply we should, then we are actually limiting what God can do in our lives!

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