Jesus had much to say about prayer. The New Testament has many examples of His teaching others how to pray. Not only did the Lord frequently teach on this important topic, He modeled what a devoted prayer life ought to look like.
The gospel accounts record Jesus praying at various times, from early in the morning and also late at night. Jesus prayed often, which should encourage us to do the same.
My focus for this article is the fact that Jesus also prayed with great faith. He did not pray hoping that God the Father might hear Him. Instead, Jesus prayed as if He were talking directly to God (which He was!). Jesus knew, as we must, that our all-powerful and all-knowing God supernaturally is able to communicate with all people simultaneously. For us to be aware of this awesome fact is a gift of faith, for my finite mind can in no way get around it, yet in my heart I know it to be true.
Allow me to share the true story of how I became certain that God hears all our prayers and hence the title of this blog: Be careful what you pray for, because you might just get it!
A little background first to help you get the full impact of the way God opened my eyes and heart to his prayer answering ways. In May of 1991 I was admitted to a de-tox facility as the first step in my recovery from alcoholism. After spending three weeks there I was feeling so much better physically, and through the care of the professionals on staff, I was becoming aware that my only hope for long-term sobriety was to admit my total defeat at the hands of booze and to trust in a Higher Power to give me the strength I would need to stay sober each day.
As a child, my parents had dragged me to church with them every Sunday. Though it meant nothing to me then, apparently the stories I had heard repeated there stuck with me as did the messages of hope I had heard, for in those early days of treatment I came to know that Jesus Christ was indeed this Higher Power. (I am blessed these days to know Him as the Highest Power!) I began then a habit that continues to this day; in my morning prayers I ask that He give me the strength I need to stay sober today. Nearly 27 years later, He has perfectly filled my request each and every day.
But I’ve gotten a little ahead of the story. My prayers at the beginning of my new life, though consistent, lacked any real depth. I knew what I needed, for me and my family, and I asked. God graciously responded. It was one particular response that I want to share with you that truly opened my eyes to how closely God listens to us and how He patterns His response in the way that best speaks to us individually.
After de-tox I spent another 28 days in a rehab facility. This I know now was another blessing as I was able to begin to deal with the disease I had. I was learning about the damage it had done to me and to those closest to me, especially my wife and our firstborn child.
Those who are familiar with the ravages of addiction know full well the scope of this damage. My wife, one of the greatest gifts God has given me, decided early on to stick with me, offering gracious support as she herself began a journey of recovery from the effects my illness.
Though we committed to each other to go all-in on this new opportunity for life we were given, it was not going to be easy. My drinking had ruined us financially. As I emerged from treatment, we were faced with a huge financial burden. I owed in excess of $100,000 in back taxes (a sizable sum in 1991) and we had no income. We had to rely on Social Services and the kindness of family and friends just to stay fed and to have a place to live in the summer of 1991.
I have come to see the truth in scriptures like Jeremiah 32:17 which says nothing is too hard for God. Our situation was indeed dire, but not impossible to overcome. God did (and does) have a plan for each of us.
I began to more fully experience God’s mercy after I finished my 28-day in-patient rehab. Out of work and with few marketable skills, God stepped in. A good friend had a well-placed friend in one of the three nuclear power plants nearby. With the right strings pulled, I was hired as a temporary employee for a position that was to last 6 months.
There was a slight problem, however, I didn’t have a car to get there and back. Again, no problem for God, as He provided one. Another friend in our small town was aware of our troubles and sold us his 1975 Chevy Chevelle for $100. This car was a true winter-rat. The driver’s side door didn’t open from the outside, there was no floor board in back and the catalytic converter caused the passenger-side carpet to smolder after about 15 miles.
Here’s where I learned the lesson that God does have a sense of humor, as in hindsight I came to understand about being careful what I pray for. This junker of a car was well beyond my ability to fix if anything else went wrong with it. So I prayed, “God please keep this thing running for 6 months so that I can get back and forth to work.”
The job started on October 8th, 1991. It went well and with lots of overtime worked we started to chip away at the mountain of debt I brought on us. That Chevelle ran all winter, getting me through some horrendous snowstorms along the way.
April 7th, 1992 was my last day of employment there. I got out of work early and stopped at the noon AA meeting here in town. I got into my car when the meeting ended, and it would not start. It was dead; no life, no horn, no nothing. Then with a smile I remembered my prayer. God had answered it alright, to the minute! That car ran for 6 months, exactly as I had asked God to do.
I share this account to encourage everyone who prays to never sell God short. He does listen to us and He does respond, just not always as we expect or even hope.
I’ll conclude for today with what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Ephesus:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21

2 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Pray For (you might just get it!)

  1. Your prayer regarding the car made me stop and think. It brings back some memories. Ouch! I’m also very grateful that God didn’t answer some of the unwise prayers I prayed nearly 40 years ago! Thank you for sharing your journey.


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