More From Rachael Pittiglio

May 14, 2022 by Rachael Pittiglio (Michigan, USA)

What a wild two years it’s been. When I wrote about praising God in much or little, I had no idea how much I still had to learn. Since March 2020, I’ve struggled enormously in my career while working in an industry where I had no prior experience, one deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. My income shrank each year despite a promotion, and in 2021 I earned less than half of what I used to make in 2018.

But I also experienced great joys and small triumphs. In August 2021, I married the wonderful man who waited three extra years for me to be ready for commitment. I had my first paid editing gig, when I had nearly given up on doing anything in my field. I began a small business that I’d wanted to try for a long time.

Through all of this, I’m finding my thoughts on prayer changing in a way that calls me back to Psalm 116:7 and links it to Philippians 4:12-13: “I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (NRSVUE).

God’s bounty has been there through the humbling struggle of working far harder for far less. As I grew tenfold in my love for the people who surrounded me in difficult labor, I also learned to have conversations about my faith with people outside my church. In a hilarious, only-from-God turn of events, I eventually became a manager at a job where I originally feared getting fired for incompetence. Through that, I learned the joy of teaching others and cultivating their success. 

But even these bounties, I think, are not all we should seek from God. I think the way I’ve been praying my whole life has been so much shallower than it could be. Jobs, love, homes, happiness, and even healing are all good things, but sometimes they’re so much less than all God has for me. I want mere comfort, but God has a kingdom to advance by my words and my actions, and God has transformation in store for my heart in the process.

I can’t lie—I’m not always sure I like this new perspective. It’s far easier to pray primarily for comfort and prosperity, assuming that if I also pray for others to enjoy earthly ease that I’m doing my part. But if the purpose of Christianity is personal comfort and prosperity, then it has failed the Christians who die of illness, or struggle with poverty, or experience all kinds of trials despite their faith. (That’s not even mentioning the martyrs of past and current centuries.) 

There has to be more. 

I doubt I fully understand what “more” is yet, but I believe it begins with knowing that having plenty isn’t the end game. Philippians 4 wasn’t about being lowly or how much we abound, but how much we abide. That doesn’t mean I no longer ask for anything, but there’s a difference in the urgency and the main purpose of my prayer. 

Next month I finally begin a new job that represents a step into my field and a raise in income. I look forward to it, but I am aware of how shortsighted it would be to call only my recent triumphs my “bounty.” I want not only to stay faithful when I’m brought low and when I abound, but to change my focus and ask, in any circumstance, what God is doing.  

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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