Growing up I was taught how to pray. I was encouraged to pray. We prayed before meals, before bedtime, before church, before funerals. There were prayers for confession, prayers for protection, prayers to saints, and prayers for seasons. I had my own little book of prayers I could read in case I couldn’t come up with the words on my own. Do you know what I was not taught? He answers.
If praying was the proverbial “dead horse”, I beat it. However I was never taught to watch for answers. I was never taught to listen for answers. I never really thought about if I would get an answer or if I did, how it would come. Our Lord answers in so many different ways, how can a person accurately teach about him answering? Well, I know how to tell about God answering now because I’ve experienced his answers. What I used to chalk up to coincidence, I now know is my Lord answering.
Sometimes his answers have come to me as a timely song on the radio. Sometimes they come as a thought popping into my head. I have had people say just the right thing at the right time, and I knew God was answering me through them. Oftentimes I read a striking verse in the Bible. Even though I keep reading, my mind won’t let me move past the verse that has pierced my soul, and I know it is an answer from my Lord. As I have learned more about my heavenly Father, I have grown and matured, which is what the Bible says we should do (Hebrews 5:13-6:3). Still, I forget sometimes God answers even the most basic prayers. He has to remind me, and I’m glad he does.
One morning I was trying to give God my attention, but my thoughts kept wandering back to what I had to get done that day. I would wrangle my mind back to my devotional book or Bible reading. Again, I got distracted and started listing off customers I had to reach. Back and forth I played tug of war with my mind:
- Make a list of soil samples taken and signatures received,
- Address and send the last of the invites,
- Call guys regarding their preferred time of billing,
- Follow-up on the big sales call,
- Take pictures of connections and go to the hardware store,
Finally, I became exhausted and frustrated. I shrugged and apologized to my Lord for my weak mind, my short attention span, and my wrong priorities. Then my Father spoke softly to me,
Don’t feel guilty. You asked me to show you my will for you today. I’m helping you with your work.
Why do I pray to God for help with my day and then rush into my day without letting him help me? My friends and I have laughed about this before. I have admitted I take my burdens and prayers to God. I lay them at the cross while I am visiting with my Lord, then I pick them back up and take them with me when I go. Too often I think God will answer my important and difficult prayers like healing someone or protecting a couple’s marriage. Why do I think he wouldn’t care just as much about how my day goes or helping me be successful? After all, he provided my job for me. He loves me! I ask my children how their day goes. I care. Aren’t I God’s child? I am. You are too. He cares, and our Father does answer. We just have to watch and listen for his answer.
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.
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