When we pray, God works
I must admit: For most of my Christian life, I have struggled with the idea of prayer. “Why should the God of the universe listen to me?” I wonder. Instead of being upset at my lack of faith, God has simply shown Himself faithful to respond to my prayer, showing me that, no matter why or how, He does listen to me.
This morning, as I was picking out fresh clothes for Fiala to wear, I thought, “She’s growing out of these 3-6 month clothes I got off of Freecycle. ~sigh~ I think all of Audrey’s 6-9 month stuff is winter.* I’ll have to check later today… Oh, God, I thank you for always providing for us, and I trust you to do so in the future. Please provide for Fiala.” That was it; I breathed about two sentences of prayer.
So. (You can probably guess what’s coming.) I was sitting on the couch, reading Window on the World to Grant and Wesley; we were learning about the Uzbeks. I love WotW. I so love learning about the culture of different people groups and countries which were previously unfamiliar to me. I strongly believe that God created each unique culture for His purpose, and that each adds to the wealth of strengths and resources of all His creation. The tagline on the front of the book reads: “When we pray, God works.” As simple as that: when we pray, God works. We learn about the country or ethnic group of the day, the kids and I then thank God for what He’s done in the country, and ask for His help for their needs, each in turn, thanking and praying based upon what we’ve read, according to what’s struck us. I always wonder what the effect of our little prayers might be, far across the globe. Dear Wesley always prays for peace in a country, that there would be no wars.
As we were reading, a phone call came in. I don’t usually pick up the phone when we’re doing school; the fewer distractions the better. But, the answering machine was turned up quite loudly, and I could hear a young mom from my church as she left a message, “Hi, Karen, this is Nicole. I was just wondering what size Fiala is wearing right now. I’m sorting through Riley’s clothes and want to give some to Martin at kinship tonight to bring home for you…”
I picked up.
I was flooded with a whole gamut of emotion and thoughts.
First, of course, was that God is so amazing. He answered my prayer in just a matter of hours. Even if it turns out that NO clothes are Fiala’s size, I’m just appreciative of God encouraging me by saying, “Yes, I heard you. Yes, I will provide.”
More than that, though… It’s the truly glorious Body of Christ, the entirety of the community of believers, that makes me shake my head in amazement.
I still remember the first time Nicole and her husband Jonathan came to our church. I overheard her give an assessment to someone, afterwards. It was something like, “Well, I think I like this place OK. I’m not so sure about… though.”
I found myself thinking, cynically, “They won’t be around for long. Our church isn’t for everyone. If she’s going to be so unhappy with it, maybe she should just move along.”
Two years later, she and her husband are on our church’s leadership team, making a huge contribution to the ministry of our church.
Also, she’s young and hip. She’s prettier and more stylish than me, by far. At 35, when my new clothes purchases are few and far between, and my hair is greying, and I’m not as trim as I used to be, I can easily feel an inferiority complex around those younger and cuter than me.
But, two years later, and I’m about to be a recipient of her great taste in clothes — her daughter is two years old, and dresses better than I do. 😀 And, now, Fiala’s going to inherit some of that cuteness.
God is good. He’s patient with me. In the way He works, He gently proves me wrong — to both my humility and delight — again and again.
*Here in Phoenix, it’s already warming up. The past few days have been in the low 80s. So, even though it’s Februrary, I would need the next round of clothes to be appropriate for spring/summer.