I must confess, I was feeling the pressure to writing something truly amazing in this post since I teased about it in my last one. I keep a list of several ideas on my smartphone as they come into my head and the one that jumped out at me was about my prayer experiences. You see, I wish I was a better pray-er. Lately, I’ve been struggling to maintain a good routine. I mostly use prayer as a crutch. We’ve collected quite a few pairs of crutches along the way thanks to my hubby’s soccer injuries, as a crutch is typically seen beside those people who need help walking. But spiritually speaking, my prayer life really ramps up when there’s a pressing need or concern in my life. I wish prayer was less like a crutch (a help) and more like oxygen (a necessity). But, God has been soooo good to me in times of need.
When I was in seventh grade mid-year exams were taking place and my science exam was going to take place the next day. Of course, I did not study too much mostly because seventh grade science was about as foreign to me as trigonometry. Add that to the fact that I was terrified of my teacher, a strict religious sister with a no-nonsense approach to everything, I was in need of a miracle.
So the night before the exam, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, I pulled out my ‘crutch’ and began praying in earnest for a way to get out of this exam or at least a delay so that I could attempt to study a little longer. Hoping for maybe enough snow to close school the next day, I asked God to help me out and went to bed satisfied that I had prayed, but still worrying to the extreme and being anxious because that’s my way of doing my part in helping this request on its way (which we know anxiety and worry do not help at all). The next morning I turned on the radio after looking out my window and seeing that it had snowed during the night and having heard the wind howling. I discovered that the Blizzard of ’77 had just hit Buffalo, New York, effectively paralyzing the region from January 28th to February 1st.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this could happen! Coincidence? Perhaps. But I was determined to believe that my prayer had been heard and answered in a big way.
Another time I was in a job that I liked very much, but I had a coworker who was difficult to work alongside. I started noticing that I was getting headaches and stomachaches on my way into work for several weeks and avoided the lunchroom. I knew I would need to do something to remedy the situation and thought about asking for a transfer or taking a leave of absence. But I pulled out my crutch again and prayed, asking God to help me to know how I should handle it thinking it was up to me to do the moving, changing, or leaving. Later that week, I discovered that my coworker decided to take a different direction in her career and would be leaving her job in a matter of weeks. I was so relieved and truly amazed that God had handled this situation in a way I had not expected nor imagined. The headaches and stomachaches stopped and I began to enjoy my job once more.
Once we were attempting to stretch our finances throughout the summer until my next paycheck in September. My husband and I had just moved our family into our new home and there seemed to be a new expense popping up each day.
We were watching our pennies and our finances were tight, so we prayed and trusted God that would take care of us. The next day, my husband went to the post office box where we have our important mail sent and found not only three paychecks for contract jobs he had done earlier that summer, but that week we also received a check from his aunt who wanted to share with us a money gift as she was getting on in years and hoped we could spend the money on something we needed. Gobsmacked once again! Or more like God-smacked.
I know God watches out for me and these experiences prove it. Sometimes we are tempted to treat God like a holy slot machine – putting in our requests and hoping to hit the jackpot. I could write dozens of examples of how I prayed in earnest for one outcome and my situation actually seemed to get worse, but I’ll save those ramblings for another time. I know God is using every event to shape me into the person He wants me to become. Slowly I am realizing that I need to lean on prayer less like a crutch and more like having it be the background music of my life, playing quietly and constantly – hearing His voice ever so softly, so that everyday – all day long – I am in conversation with Him about all the needs, but also all the blessings, all the sorrows, and the ordinary gifts of my ordinary life. He is truly amazing!
Do you have a story about an answer to prayer that surprised you?