“This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”—1 John 5:14,15, NIV
I’m praying for a softening of the arteries but my cynicism keeps getting in the way of my faith. “Let’s pray about it” might sound like a Christian’s cure all, yet God says in James 5:16 that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. However, my faith begins to crumble when nothing apparently changes. Impatience and agenda-setting prayers have slowly clogged the faith arteries that once ran fluidly as a young child.
It was far easier to believe the improbable and seemingly impossible before I allowed the noise, losses, rhythms and responsibilities of adulthood to shape my faith. I am thankful that God has mercifully shown me the power of child-like faith in some pretty unlikely places lately: our dinner table, a fast-food restaurant and the car wash.
We have in our front yard what we fondly call our “psycho-light”—a street light that is forever deciding whether to be on or off. One night during dinner the light went off—kaput. No blinking, just O-F-F. I figured for as long as the thing had been off that it was off for good. Not Andrea. She bowed her head and fervently prayed for
Jesus to “please fix that light”. That light had passed away 10 minutes prior without hope of resuscitation but she prayed anyway…and it WORKED. Apparently Jeremiah 29:12 was true, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Another night the kids and I were waiting for daddy to join us for dinner at a fast food restaurant. He called to say the car was overheated and there was a nasty traffic jam. He wouldn’t make it. I thought to myself, “What a great time to teach the kids to pray for the impossible.” As soon as the first words of prayer were uttered, my next thought was, “That car was NEVER going to start.”
Good thing the kids didn’t hear that. Daddy walked through the doors before we finished our meal to the squeals of “We prayed for your car Daddy and it WORKED!” I smiled sheepishly and was thankful no one heard the doubts swirling around my head when we prayed, knowing any hint of pride at my children’s LOUD testimony of faith might send a bolt of lightning straight into my seat.
Then the car wash. I rarely pay for “The Works”. Usually I get the el-cheapo-express-oh, the one I think the soap sometimes gets left out. One day as we were going through I noticed Andrea’s eyes were shut as I was paying for, to my amazement, “The Works”. I asked if she was okay and she just nodded and smiled. When the Super Duper Rainbow-colored-soap started streaming down the windows she yelled, “I KNEW it! I prayed we’d have the rainbow soap and it WORKED!” God answers soap color prayers too?!
Jesus says in Matthew 17:20 that our prayers often don’t work because we have so little faith and that we need only faith as small as a mustard seed to move a mountain…to make the seemingly improbable happen. He says later in Matthew 18:3 we have to become like little children to enter heaven. That bugged me until I discovered the word used here is the Greek word strephō, which is the same word used for turning around. Awesome! It’s a process.
God understands that it took years for doubt and cynicism to take root in my mind and that the softening and cleaning of my faith arteries will also take time and the Holy Spirit to accomplish this work, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” --Philippians 2:13.
How much time will all this take? Who knows? Jesus says to pray and never give up like that pesky widow in Luke 18. Guess what? Her prayers WORKED! In any case, while I’m praying for a healthy dose of faith in my own prayers, I’m thankful my little mustard seeds are moving mountains with theirs.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”—2 Thessalonians 2:16
Rhonda DiGenova and her husband of 31 years are empty nesters in Vancouver WA. Their children are thriving adults—in spite of colossal parenting fails. Andrea is now 24, married and lives in Idaho. Michael is 23 and works full time in eastern Washington. Both are actively involved in ministering to college students.