Tag Archives: Prayer

What Does Answered Prayer Look Like?

My daughter attends a charter school downtown that I drive her to and pick her up from every day. Yesterday, I did some grocery shopping, then headed straight to the school to pick her up even though I was going to be forty minutes early. Since I was so early, I shut the car off after getting into the carpool line and kicked on my Kindle. Forty minutes later, as kids starting pouring out of the school, I cranked the car and… nothing. Not even a flicker of power, other than the orange CHECK ENGINE light glaring at me… the “your car is so dead” light.

As I searched for the roadside assistance card, started making phone calls, and texted my husband who was just about to board a flight to Texas, the chaos of kids running down the sidewalk and cars careening around me died off. My daughter and I were suddenly surrounded by the eeriness of a quiet school ground… in downtown… with boarded up houses across the street. It was going to take an hour and 15 minutes for the tow truck to arrive.

Empty School

“Dear Jesus, please keep up safe…” the prayers went up.

Within 5 minutes a police officer pulled up in the carpool line right behind me, followed by a second and a third patrol car. Within ten minutes, four officers had apprehended and handcuffed a man, put him in the third patrol car and drove him away. The first and second patrol cars however, remained onsite, right behind me, in the carpool line… for the next hour. The first patrol car pulled away from the line directly behind the tow truck as it pulled into the line – quite literally, he followed the tow truck through the line and passed him by as the truck pulled over to help me.

This is amazing grace.

But let’s be real about this. This is clearly amazing grace by the way I told the story. How many of us, when we see a police officer roll up behind us, say to ourselves, “Praise God. Help is here!” Possibly my first reaction to the scene was not to see God’s grace at all? But to say, “Oh crap,”? To start plotting what I would say to the officer when s/he knocked on my window? To start explaining why I was loitering on a school ground? I actually almost completely missed the grace. Once I had the relief that the officer was not there for me, I put the whole thing behind me. But then it struck me; this WAS God’s answer to my prayer.

Are there places in your life where you have missed God’s answer to your prayer?

I invite you today to take stock of your prayers and the recent events of your life. See if you can map them together; see if you can identify something that felt like a problem, annoyance, frustration, as actually an answer to a prayer. I’m learning more and more how to let go of my vision of what answered prayer looks like and see the ways that Jesus is actually answering them. I hope you will find yourself shocked, as I was, that the answer is right in front of you.

A Golden Calf

When I read in the bible about things people used to covet and idolize, it seems so obvious how dumb their behavior was.  Let’s see, let’s melt down some gold, form it into a calf, put it on the shelf, pray to it, and wait for it to fulfill our lives.  Woohoo!  Ok, seems like something I’m pretty much never going to do, so check “covet” off my list.  Not guilty.

Or am I?

Being truthful with myself and taking off the blinders about the golden calf, covet means “that which you spend most of your day thinking about”.  Ok, GUILTY!!  I was in a hurricane of covetous behavior over the last 10 days about a new business opportunity that came my way.  My mind was racing about this business even during the night such that in the unfortunate circumstance that my daughter’s hamster’s wheel was squeaking at 3am or my dog heard a random inconsequential noise and let out a “save the world” bark and woke me up, I was doomed.  I was awake for hours strategizing about how to capitalize on this business.  This was going to fulfill my life!!  I was going to be a millionaire in a week!!!  After 7 days I was exhausted and after 10 I was desperate.

Now, knowing this definition of covet, “that which you spend most of your day… or night… thinking about” meant that in the sane part of my brain, I knew this obsessive strategizing was a problem.  So I would pray about it during my morning prayer time asking God to help me let it go, but day over day, my prayers sounded a lot more like an aggressive volley in a Wimbledon match, “Dear God, please help me overcome… the strength in the compensation plan is… oh, overcome my covetous… the target market is huge… oh, my covetous…” and so on.  I was trying hard and I was desiring to let it go, but I was getting nowhere.  And all the while, everything I set out to do on this faith walk went by the wayside; my book and this blog.  Why wasn’t the prayer helping?

After 10 days, the light finally went off… or on… in my brain.  It was the way I was praying.  I realized I needed to stand on scripture, not just ask for help.  It’s a subtle but very important and powerful difference in prayer.  I remembered that scripture tells us we have the authority to give God dominion over our thoughts.  So I did.  I gave Him control of my thoughts.  Within a day the obsessing was gone and within two days He was feeding me ideas about how to efficiently maneuver this business opportunity… in a controlled fashion… and rejuvenating my desire to write for Him.  And He will fulfill something in my life with this business as He sees fit.

Whatever you are primarily focusing on to fulfill you in life is your golden calf.  It could be work or volunteering or your kids or party time or movies or movie stars or whatever.  Whatever it is, you will find it to be more successful, or less distracting, or less an obsession, when you focus on God first and allow Him to maneuver it for you.  Give Him dominion over your thoughts on it and watch His truth unfold in your life.