When We Pray

its-just-8When I was in first grade my friend Stephanie was diagnosed with a rare disease. Now, I don’t remember what it was called, but I know that at the time I didn’t realize how serious it was. I remember, though, that she had to undergo bone marrow transplants and that she had more than a few close calls.

She’d missed a lot of school in first grade. If memory serves, we sent her handmade cards to cheer her up and prayed for her during class (I attended a Christian school). I missed her, though. Stephanie was always pure sunshine. She always had a beautiful smile on her face and her dark eyes were kind.

Our teacher told us one day that Stephanie would come for a visit. A brief one, but still, she was coming. We planned a bit of a party. We all looked forward to seeing her.

But as the day neared, we learned that Stephanie might not come after all. That she wasn’t well, not strong enough for the visit. I was so disappointed. I sat at my spot at the work table and asked God to please let Stephanie come. I prayed every day that she’d be all right. And I prayed that she’d be able to be at our party.

That is the first concrete answer to prayer that I remember.

I’ve prayed for Stephanie many, many times since then. God has blessed her life by letting her beat all the odds. She’s doing well, sharing her pure sunshine and beautiful smile with everyone around her.

Stephanie was my first answer to prayer.

I could list for you hundreds and hundreds of answered prayers I’ve experienced since then.

My brother-in-law and his family raising enough money for him to receive a radical treatment for his M.S.

Winning the heart of the man who would become my most excellent husband. 

The gentle passing of someone I loved.

When I think over the times when God has answered my prayers and the prayers of others, I am reminded of one very important truth:

God listens.

And even when those answers are vastly different than I would have expected, I still have reason to be grateful. Because God is el roi. The God who sees me. Who knows me. Who hears and acts in my life and in the lives of others.

God listens.

Prayer matters.

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My good friend Amelia recently released a book called Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray img_20161126_115325.jpgfor your Community. As I read through the Scripture verses and the prayer prompts, I was reminded of all the times God has honored my prayers and I was moved to joy and thanksgiving.

I would LOVE to share that joy with one of you. I’m giving away one copy of Pray A to Z. All you have to do to enter this give away is comment below. I’d love for you to share a time when you saw prayer answered in your life. Let’s use this to encourage and lift up one another!

I’ll draw a winner next Monday (12/5/16).

*Please note: This giveaway is only for those living in the continental United States.

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12 thoughts on “When We Pray

  1. My day -in-law was in a coma 7 years ago for about 3 weeks. I prayed that my son would not have to make the decision to take her off life support. The kidney Dr.was called in and she was put on dialysis. Less than 2 weeks later she was home. She lived 3 more years before her heart took her.

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  2. I HAVE EXPERIENCED ANSWERS TO PRAYER IN MANY WAYS AND FOR MANY OTHER PEOPLE. AND SOMETIMES GOD PROVIDES IN MARVELOUS WAYS EVEN BEFORE I PRAY, JOB IS MY FAVORITE PERSON IN SCRIPTURE.

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  3. Oh, I love your story about Stephanie! Is is so true that remembering answered prayers from our childhood keeps us on our knees. So – it seems like we had a lot of lost contact lens answered prayers growing up at our house, but the Thanksgiving story stands out for us sisters. We were playing with a nerf football in the backyard, more because football and Thanksgiving were supposed to go together than because we had any bent toward athleticism. Someone tossed me the ball, I missed, it hit my face, and my contact fell to the ground. (A lot of my childhood might seem a little like a cartoon.) We got on the ground to gingerly sort through the blades of grass under the big tree. It was dusk and as the light quickly faded we knew we didn’t have much time. When it was so dark that even a flashlight was of little help, my sister Linda put the football close to where we thought the contact lens was and decided we should pray that God would show us where to find it in the morning light. Our parents were doubtful that God wold answer that kind of prayer, but we went to sleep confident that God could choose to show us the lens when we woke up. Sure enough, there it was, glistening in the morning dew at sunrise, next to the nerf football. Many years later, into adulthood and parenthood, Linda sent me a photo of that morning. She was under the tree holding up the contact in one hand and the football in the other. Across the top of the photo she’d written: This reminds me that God always answers prayer.”

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  4. Thanks, Susie, for this gentle nudge to look back and recall the ways God has answered prayer in my life. When I was going through aggressive cancer treatments 12 yrs ago, I remember asking God to let me live to see my son grow up…he was 3 at the time, and now he’s 15, and I’m so thankful God has given me the health and strength to raise him.

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