A few encouraging words on prayer this morning from my man Frederick Bruner:

"... prayer is simply faith breathing."

"So how does the church find the abilty she needs to help the world? By believing God enough to say her prayers."

"Prayerlessness is powerlessness."

"Jesus' equations and measurements are gracious: 'If you have just a little faith, little as a grain of mustard seed, then you can say to this mountain move ...' A little faith, a little prayer, is wonderfull. Jesus wants his disciples to learn that they can run marvelously on a low tank."

"Your faith is not impressive or strong and never will be; no problem, just pray like you mean it and God will do miracles."

"... mustard-seed faith is faith that is conscious of its own unbelief and its own godlessness. Jesus wants his disciples to cease groveling in shame or inadequacy because of their almost always weak faith, and he wants them to believe that even their elementary faith and prayer throbs with power."

"The point of Jesus teaching [on faith the size of a mustard seed] is that even if our faith is small, it is not feeble, for it is alive like a seed and God will do wonders with it and us, wonders that will help people much more deeply than we are helping them now."

(All from Bruner's commentary on the second half of the Gospel of Matthew)

I don't know about you all, but I need to hear these words.

When the needs in my own life,

the needs in my family's life,

the needs in the lives of those who seek me out for counsel,

the needs of my community,

the needs of my country,

the needs of the world ...

When all these needs overwhelm me,

when my faith seems too small,

when my prayers seem like whispering in the dark,

I need to be reminded that it is not the strength of my faith,

not the eloquence of my words,

not anything within me that holds the key to hope and help and healing.

No, all I need is the tiniest seed of faith,

faith that breathes itself out in prayer,

and God will respond in mountain-moving kinds of ways.

Don't be ashamed of your tiny faith.

Don't be ashamed of your tiny prayers.

Trust your Big God with whatever you have,

and prepare to be amazed.