Prayer really matters. Prayer can change everything. I have always prayed, but I have not always prayed with any certainty or with any kind of expectation that my prayers would be answered. I used to be so jaded, so darkly cynical, a prayer could be answered right in front of me and I would not even recognize it, or if it was glaringly obvious, I would just roll my eyes and dismiss it as a total coincidence, a placebo, a trick of my imagination.
When you’re wounded it can be really hard to open up, to trust, to have faith, to accept what you observe at face value and to just receive it.
I began this journey of trying to take note of every prayer that is answered and to fully receive it, with this very sulky, passive/aggressive, utterance to God that amounted to, “if you actually loved me, you’d bring me some darn coffee.” I had zero expectations but the doorbell rang and I nearly fainted. This guy had made a coffee run for his friends and when he got back they had all bailed on him. He didn’t want to waste good coffee and something led him to the house down the street where I was working at. I nearly dropped the coffee I was so surprised. That man had no idea what I had just prayed, but he felt led to bring it over with such perfect timing.
Baby steps, man, baby steps. I was really convicted in that moment too, and I learned that, “if” you loved me was a deception, a lie embedded deep in my soul somewhere, like a little infected rose thorn. There are no “if’s” with God, His love for us has been proven and demonstrated over and over again. There was a thorn in there that I needed to find and pluck out and so I began taking note of every answered prayer, no matter how small, and to focus on just receiving them.
Most of the moments of answered prayer I count are very small, very insignificant on the surface of it all, but they have an impact, they matter, and a bunch of very small things all add up to something very grand and majestic.
Laughing here, but kingdom maths is so hard! The last shall go first, the least is greater. Three parts make one majestic whole, two people get married and become one, and when something is taken from you, you’ve just experienced a huge gain, a profit, because God will replace it ten fold. Or as somebody smart recently said, when we tithe it leaves our hand but it never leaves our life.
Answered prayers can be rather amusing, too. The other day I was in the grocery store waiting in line and praying. Lord, the world is so unsettled, people done lost their minds, and I need your peace, I need your safety. A stronger sense of safety Lord, that’s what I need right now. I had no sooner opened my eyes when I discovered I was surrounded by these 3 guys, open carry guys, all with their eyes twinkling at me above their masks as we stood there waiting in line. I started laughing as I am prone to do and the first thing that came out of my mouth was a bit of a quip, Well now, I suddenly feel very, very safe!
It was so much more than that though, it was more of a, I feel very safe, very heard, very known, and very loved. Those guys had no idea that they were an answer to prayer. They were literally just buying kool aid and ranch dressing. Their presence would not have meant the same thing to other people, nor would I even have noticed them if I hadn’t just been praying for something symbolic, some tangible representation of “safety.” What does “safety” even look like?
Well apparently for me, safety looks like a being surrounded by pleasant conversation and three heavily armed guys in the Cheetoh aisle.