What Does Answered Prayer Mean To You?

Eight years ago our family was in a very bad financial situation. People would often ask, “oh, are things a little tight“? Tight would have been an understatement. It was very bad. At the time we had three children and could barely feed them. One day we woke up and our cell phones were turned off. It was our only means of communication. We did not have a house phone. The cell phones were also the only way clients could reach my husband. We had a small business that wasn’t going very well. That morning I was depressed. We were new believers and I was trying so hard to be faithful to God. I was so tired of having no food. I was tired of having things shut off. I was tired of not being able to buy clothes for our children. I was tired! The cell phone bill was high. We needed two-hundred dollars to turn the phones back on. I had hope that if our phones were turned on someone would contact my husband for more work and then we could pay the balance. That afternoon I prayed and I asked God to provide. I said, “Lord, I don’t care how you provide, I just ask that you provide your way.” 

Later that afternoon I was preparing dinner and the doorbell rang. It was a family friend who stopped by to say hello to my husband. He had just returned from his vacation and had some gifts. My husband had stepped out for a while so the family friend shared some stories with me about his trip. As he was leaving he asked me a question. He said, “Are your phones okay?” I told him yes, the bill was a little high but we were fine. I said nothing else to him. However, he went into his wallet and handed me two-hundred dollars and said, “Go take care of your phones“. I nearly fell on the floor. I was a new believer who had cried out to God – and He provided.

This morning was our children’s  first soccer game of the season. We had been checking the weather because there was a threat of rain. We’ve had rescheduled games before and it’s usually no big deal. But this was the first game – that’s different. There’s excitement and energy in the air! I watched the weather report and it wasn’t pretty. Rain was projected at the exact time of our games lasting throughout the afternoon. The computer models showed the rain moving toward us. I prayed and I asked God to spare us the rain. I said, Lord, even if it does rain I’ll praise your name, but I ask that you shift the rain this morning so we can have our first game. Twenty minutes later it was dark and started to rain. The kids were sad but I reminded them we still had time, and that I prayed, so we will trust God no matter what. Ten minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came out. We left for the park. We had three games for three hours and the threat of rain was nowhere in sight!

Years ago I would have taken these events and simply been happy God answered MY prayers. I would have even boasted about how God answered MY prayers. Yes, I’m happy God answered these prayers,  but I’ve realized something. After our cell phone was paid, and after we played our soccer games, then what? I now see these events as something bigger! I see this as God’s way of reminding us of His greater purpose. I see these as events that remind us to continue as His disciples, to share the gospel with others, and to be used in a mighty way for His Kingdom. Do you see yourself as a Peter, or Paul, or Martin Luther, or Elisabeth Elliot, or Billy Graham or insert your name? Yes God cares about every detail in our lives, but is our aim too low? Are we too content? Are we truly living as a New Testament church body? God continued to give His ear to Israel because He had a bigger plan for them.

Oh Dear God, you came and died that we might go into all the world, making disciplines, and sharing the gospel. Help us to view every answer to prayer as a way to spread your glory. Even if we minister to one person, we know we are expanding your Kingdom. Help us realize that your provisions are for your glory – and not simply a way for us to survive. Help us to open up our minds, dear Lord, to believe in you in a powerful way. And help us be reminded that every answer to prayer has a bigger purpose for your Kingdom. 

1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever”.

 

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