There are few things that you can count on in this world. Especially things that you can’t see. Does God answer prayer, really? I know that prayer can and does work. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes – more importantly I’ve seen it with my heart.
It was the night our three children were dedicated. My husband and I had already been running on empty for a couple days now. Our cupboards where closing in on bare, our car was practically on fumes, and our belief levels were tipping the scale over to the big, red E as well. We drove to church with the gas light on. We were worried but that night was very important for me and my husband knew that.
We went up on stage, had all three boys dedicated. Then my husband took the older two to their classroom and I sat down with the baby. Shortly there after like any typical baby he was hungry. Most Sunday’s all I did was get my nursing cover out and I’d feed the baby. For some reason this day my husband asked in a sort of demanding way for me to go to the nursing mom’s room. Now if you know me at all, you will know that on a typical day I’d give my husband a nasty look for asking me to leave the room and continue on with feeding the baby.
This day was not a typical day.
Submitting to My Husband
I got up and took the baby into the nursing mom’s room. The walk from seat to room I was ready to boil over with anger. I was so angry with my husband for asking me to leave the church sanctuary and go into the room. While the room is actually really nice with comfy rocking chairs, a large mirrored window, and speakers so you can hear. I was still angry. Just as suddenly that my husband asked me to leave I felt my anger go away.
I was instantly calm and was really listening. I was hearing every word as if I was the only one in the room (well I was the only one in that room, but you know what I mean!). Our pastor was speaking about prayer and how anything is possible. Even to have a child. As he was speaking from 1 Samuel -how Hannah begged God for a child- I kept hearing the words in my head that “answers to prayer do happen“.
In reality, I was struggling to listen to the service that day because I was preoccupied with all the things running on empty in my life. But when the pastor reached the point in the story where Hannah was blessed with a open womb, I started praying.
I prayed that God would help us to make it until Thursday, until my husband’s payday. That somehow we would have gas for the van so the boys could go to preschool. That we’d have food in the cupboards and on our table. That we’d have enough hope to make it one more week – not even a full week, just four more days. I honestly don’t even remember if I thanked him for the blessings I had.
So the service ended and as we claimed our kids from their class my mom invited us back to her house for dinner. My first thought was ‘woohoo a free meal‘ then my second ‘I really hope we have enough gas to get to her house and home‘. So she handed us a $20 and asked for us to stop and get the bread to go with the soup. After doing so we had about $12 left in change. We made a decision to go ahead and use the change after my mom had called to remind us to go the back – long way – as her off-ramp was closed.
Great, we get a free meal for the night and now we have to go the much longer way. Why was everything so against us right now? As we pulled into the station I notice my mother’s car coming up the off-ramp. Next thing I knew she was behind us handing my husband her credit card telling us to fill it up.
What? Seriously? We had thought she was already home by now. We did stop to get the bread and they left before us. How was this possible?
Our Hearts Begin to Open
So with our car running on the F and a meal coming up I was beginning to wonder if God was answering my call for help right now – in His way. It wasn’t until my husband got back into the car with a look on his face like he had seen a ghost that I was put into a place of total shock and believing.
My husband was not a praying man. He never really believed in it like I did. Yet, this night, this important night he prayed. Not only did he pray but he prayed almost the exact words that I did – at the exact time. He confessed that as he heard him say that Hannah was blessed with a baby he thought okay if God can bless a person with a baby then what about with food and gas. So, he prayed.
With tears running down my face we headed off to my mothers house. I was in shock. My husband prayed. My mom came out of no where and filled up our car. Neither one did I directly ask to do these things, but they did.
Later that evening I got my mom alone and told her “Marty admitted to me that tonight was the first time he prayed. He prayed for someone to help us get to payday. Then you came out of no where and [insert tears running down both our faces] filled up our car and provided us with a meal.”
It wasn’t until after her response that I realized God had been working on us for a while. We needed to get to rock bottom. We needed to be in a place that prayer was our only option to really see that God is there that He does answer prayer.
I needed to obey my husband and leave. He needed to be alone in that sanctuary in order to really hear the message. I needed to be alone to hear it as well.
My mom told me that for a week now she had some money tucked away in her wallet to give us for food and gas. She had a feeling that we needed it but were afraid to ask, yet every time she had the opportunity to give us the money she heard a voice telling her “Not yet“. So there it was in her wallet folded up in a hidden area. She really did have it and now was the time.
Immediate or Delayed Our Prayers Are Answered
Yes sometimes our calls for help – our prayers – are answered immediately in a way that is so evident that God heard and made things happen. Yet, I know that no matter what He hears me. He hears my cries, my screams, my whispers, and even those that I just can’t work up the energy to say. He hears me. He answers me. His timing is perfect.
I’ve been praying for years for other things and on that night one of them was finally answered. It only took eight years but it was worth the wait. My husband prayed.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV