When I think of the above question it makes me think about the story that I heard as a little girl about a man who was in a flood. This man began to pray for God to save him from this situation. As the story is told an old man comes by to ask him if he wanted a ride to safety and he said, “No.” The flood waters began to rise in his around his home and the man prayed again for God to save him. A person with a raft floats by asking him if he wanted a ride to safety and he responded, “No. No thank you.” As the flood waters rose higher and higher he prayed harder for God to save him. A helicopter flew overhead dropping a line down telling him to, “grab hold so that we can fly you to safety.” The man refused the help one last time before drowning with the same prayer on his lips for God to save him.
As a child I only half understood this story. I understood that God was answering this man’s prayer by sending help and he refused it. That lesson seems pretty straight forward but there are three things that we can learn from this man.
- Prayer requires action on our part.
- Prayer requires us to see beyond our expectations.
- Prayer requires us to trust how God answers our prayer.
I can think about areas in my life where I need to apply these lessons. I have prayed my prayer for God to save me or fix a situation. He sends an answer but because I did not move into action I missed my opportunity. I dismissed my help by thinking more than doing. Then there are times when I have prayed that same prayer and God sends a great opportunity my way. Unfortunately the opportunity was not wrapped in the packaging that I expected it to be in and I dismiss that help. I tell myself the opportunity is too big, too small, too far, too close, or too much. You get the picture.
The final lesson has been the hardest for me because it requires trust. It seems that when I need to trust God a magnifying glass shows up in my life to remind me of failures and unanswered prayers for me. Ironically this magnifying glass does not work when I pray for others. When I pray my prayer for God to save me or fix a situation, I dismiss the help because of my lack of trust of how God answers. Somehow I make myself believe that I am unworthy of the rescue and want God to send help the way I think it should happen.
The man in the story mentioned above reminds us that even when God answers our prayers he gives us multiple chances to receive. We miss the answer not because He did not provide but because we did not move into action, we did not receive the answer the way we expected or we did not see what He sent as ours (that’s a blog for another day). Prayer not only requires faith that far exceeds our expectations but it requires obedient action and trust.
Will you allow God to answer your prayer?
Just another day’s journey of learning to allow God to answer my prayers in His way. Peace.