I remember when I was a kid pulling into the driveway on the day that the phonebook had been delivered. For some reason it seemed exciting to flip through the pages and see if any new pizza places were listed, or if I could find out the phone number of my schoolteacher. (In today’s terms that would be called “surfing the internet”.) I remember the feel of the thin pages, with the white pages in the front and the yellow pages in the back. The cover was sturdy and the binding strong so that all those thin pages would stay together. What puzzled me when I was young was the fact that a single page, which seemed to be weightless on its own, when stacked together with all the other “weightless” pages, added up to a pretty heavy phonebook. Of course, as a kid I didn’t understand the measurements of grams or milligrams, I only understood weight as far as I could feel the pressure in my own hands.
Have you ever felt that your prayers weren’t good enough, or that they weren’t making a difference? We sometimes might feel that as humans we are so small compared to God that it causes us to question whether our prayers are really worth it. When there are such significant problems in the world, we may feel helpless to make a difference on our own. How can just one person’s prayers combat sex trafficking or genocide? How can just one person have an impact to help the homeless or orphans? We see our limitations as human beings and feel overwhelmed by the gravity of these issues.
Now imagine that “weightless” page in the phone book. When you hold it in your hand it doesn’t feel like much, in fact it may feel like nothing at all. The prayer you lift up to God may also feel that way to you…that it doesn’t hold much weight, so what difference could it make? But God doesn’t measure prayers that way that we do, He uses “grams and milligrams” because He knows how they add up. When you layer those phonebook pages together, they begin to add up, they begin to “feel” heavier. When we layer up our prayers as a body of Christ, we begin to “feel” the measure of their significance. Our individual prayers are not irrelevant or useless. They are pleas, desires, cries, praises, confessions raised up to a God who treasures them, who responds to them, who is moved by them. In Exodus 32 God had told Moses that He was going to punish the Israelites for creating a golden idol to worship. Moses prays to God, reminding God how He rescued His people and made an oath to them. In verse 14 it says, “So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.” (NLT) Our individual prayers, when layered together with the prayers of other believers in our community, in our country, and around the world, all add up. Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Those prayer “grams” add up to “pounds”, and “tons”, and soon enough they are so heavy that we can’t even measure them. And like the cover and binding of the phonebook, we are bound together as a body of believers in Christ. (1 Corinthians 12 NLT)
Be confident in this: Your prayers make a difference! Prayers are the like the Phonebook of Believers. One prayer on its own may seem small, but when the prayers of all believers are layered together… they all add up.