Penny-sized Prayers

All yesterday I was struggling to pray well. I’d go to pray and instead song lyrics would find themselves popping in right in the middle. It was such a struggle to complete prayers without getting internally distracted. I knew I needed to get up to church to concentrate in prayer.

I slept in – so my timing was going to overlap with the start of church. Not a terrible thing but I went to the chapel to pray, mass started, and I can’t just leave mass — and so I stayed and knelt in the chapel – participating in mass but just a bit off to the side.

In the chapel I lit a candle for a prayer intention. I didn’t have money on me but I knew I had some in the car so I lit the last available candle and planned on coming back in later to make my donation for it. I felt better that the candle was burning all thru mass.

I went out to my car after mass but where I usually keep a few bucks I found nothing. I scrounged around. I had some change in my cupholders but no dollars. I said “Jesus, this money is for you. Can I find a dollar?” But still no dollar-bills. So I scraped out the dirty money from the cupholders. I got all the “good change” but still I had pennies — I thought “Do you really need my pennies?” and just in case the answer was “yes” I grabbed a few.

As I walked back towards church I did a rough estimate – I scrounged up about $1.

My change clanked into the just emptied collection tin. I felt better for having finally contributed something to pay for that candle. I knelt back down to say a few more prayers. And I started to reflect on if I should have sat in my car to scrape out every single last penny.

In my heart I heard “I want everything you are willing to give to me.” So darn it! I should have scraped out those pennies!  

As I finished my prayers I could feel myself starting to already be distracted in my thoughts and prayers again. And so I prayed my distraction “Jesus, I know I’m not giving you much – I’m very distracted, I’m giving you so little of what I could be giving you, but this is how it is for me today, I trust that you understand that, and I know you can work with what little I give you.”

And to you reading this the connection will be so clear and like not much of a jump at all… but in that moment Jesus had me realize that it was kind of like I was giving Him pennies in my prayer. And I smiled and let him know that I just saw what he did there — making me realize something a few minutes earlier and then turning it right back around to help me with another realization. “What’s that you have there? You only have a penny? No matter. Bring it to me. Thank you for sharing with me what you have today.

Jesus wants all that we are willing to give to Him. What we think are just pennies He wants and He can use! If it’s a day where we are figuratively and literally scraping together pennies for Him He wants that! Pennies have value. Pennies are offerings. He can take those pennies as long as you are willing to give them to Him – and once He has them He can do incredible things. 

So I turned over what I thought were my penny-sized prayers and He showed me great riches. I don’t have to worry about the offering – it is the fact that I am trying that matters, not its quality or my perceived worth/value of it – a prayer is a prayer no matter how small — and when its turned over to Jesus He can and will do great things with it.


Jesus I trust in you!




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