THAT’S NOT WHAT I PRAYED FOR

It’s been a few weeks since I posted on my prayer blog and I have to confess the past few weeks have been difficult but as I look back they had a lot to do with prayer.

My grandson’s first baby died, before he took his first breath. The baby’s aunt had a dream. She saw my late husband, her grandpa, rocking that great-grandson in heaven. I prayed for that baby for months, with great excitement and anticipation and the outcome was not what I asked for.

A couple of weeks later a godly man of God died after many years as a missionary in India, impacting the lives of millions. We will miss him in our adult bible studies. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people prayed for him. What actually happened was not what we prayed for. Then last week, another godly man died after a lifetime of impacting the youth of our city. Our youth have lost a great mentor. Hundreds were praying for healing for him too and the answer we got was not what we prayed for.

In our minds and hearts we know they are with the Lord so we don’t grieve ‘as others who have no hope’, the scriptures say and yet I have to admit that’s not what I asked for. Some people get angry, depressed or discouraged when the answers to their prayers are not what they prayed for. But there is another side.

Today I remembered an illustration about the back side of a tapestry.  It’s not the side we enjoy looking at because it is all knots and loose ends.  Yet, it is a vital part of the entire tapestry, the beautiful picture we hang on the wall. Our lives are like a tapestry. The dark threads (the heartaches and pain) woven in add the contrast that makes the picture vibrant. When we praise the Lord in the midst of our grief and pain, we are bringing to the Lord the Sacrifice of Praise.

I promised to tell you stories of amazing things the Lord has done in answer to prayer. This story still makes my soul burst with joy even though it wasn’t at all what we prayed for or expected. A young mother with school aged children came to our church board for healing prayer. She was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and finally had to go into a care facility.

Another woman took her place in the home and her children seldom visited her. She was discouraged, depressed and angry, yet she came asking for healing prayer. She didn’t get what she prayed for. The Lord didn’t heal her physically. What the Lord did astonished everyone who knew the situation. He healed her spirit and she left the church praising the Lord for what He had done.

She thanked the lady in her home for looking after her children. She forgave her husband. She started a bible study in the care home. She brought a sacrifice of praise to the Lord and within a few months, sixteen of her extended family had given their lives to the Lord.

God sees the future and He knows what will bring eternal glory to those around us and to Himself. When we don’t get what we pray for we need to have faith, it is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Something wonderful and amazing has happened even if that’s not what I prayed for.

BEYOND THE CELL PHONE

We live in a time of great technology. Parents keep in touch with their kids via cell phones. Friends keep in touch with one another by texting. Your cell phone takes pictures for you so you can send them to relatives and it is all connected to satellites floating high in the heavens. It’s hard to even fathom that prayer is way beyond any satellite system. Prayer is your own personal phone line to Almighty God, the Creator of the universe.

You will never get a busy signal or a message saying ‘this number has been disconnected’. You will never have it cut off because you missed a payment. It is your personal 911 line or simply the best way to talk to someone when you feel lonely. God is always ready to listen. Did you know He never sleeps?

Anytime, anywhere is suitable for prayer. You don’t have to be on your knees or in a church. There are not even any specific words you need to use. Help! is a prayer if it is directed to God. During war-time soldiers found trenches  a perfect place to pray. Prayer can come out as laughter at times, or in great gasping sobs in times of sorrow.

So this is my prayer blog where I will share my own prayer journey, true stories of great miracles I have witnessed, precious times when the Lord answered a child’s prayer and some times when I dissolved in giggles during prayer.

My first story is going to be one about giggles. We were learning about prayer in church and one young lady said she had never been brave enough to pray out loud. A few days later we were invited to her house for coffee and on the way, my husband (the pastor) told me not to bring up the subject of prayer unless she did. She had a friend at her house (moral support probably) and they were fun to visit with.

Then we moved to the dining room table for coffee and she asked my husband to pray before we ate. He informed her he wasn’t going to pray but asked me to pray instead.

“I have to tell you something about my wife, though,” he said to them, “she usually has to cough before she prays. We all bowed our heads and I said, “Dear Lord,” and I felt a cough rising up. I tried to hold it back but I couldn’t. Then I started to giggle. Soon I was laughing out loud and so were the other two women. My husband sat and watched us with a smug look on his face as we gasped and wiped away tear of mirth.

We never did ask the Lord to bless the food. He already had. That young woman said she had no idea that a pastor’s wife would even be nervous about praying and she would start praying out loud too.

Who knew God would use my embarrassing habit of giggling in a situation like that? I’ll try and share a more respectful story in my next prayer blog. Until then, keep that prayer line busy.