During Sunday school, our Sunday school teacher chose to read the first three pages of The Circle Maker, which is the story of this old man and his belief that the Almighty still answered prayers. Sunday school was awesome, and so was the church service.
During the Sunday school hour, I remembered another miraculous answer to prayer that happened in our town of Bartlesville.
Over twenty years ago, there was a pastor, Dr. Cook, of First Baptist Church. He was given a vision by the Lord of a piece of property near the church. At that time there was a gas station on the property. After he was given the vision he walked around the property every day, praying that the Lord’s will would be done with that property. The people who worked at the gas station laughed at him.
They laughed at Noah.
Today that piece of property is owned by First Baptist Church and a Family Life Center sits on it. This Family Life Center is a service to the entire community of Bartlesville. What began as a vision in one man and his obedience to pray for that piece of property is now a manifestation of that prayer. It’s an example of Hebrews 11:1
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
Last night, as I lay down, I found I was just as excited about the next forty days as a kid gets excited as Christmas approaches. At one point I had a fit of coughing. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my husband prayed for me and I slept so peacefully that I was not in the least struggling during my devotions this morning. As soon as I awoke I realized it was raining.
The last forecast I read was that we were not going to get rain until the end of the week.
You might think I’m crazy but I am convinced that the Lord sent the rain to tell me that yes, indeed, I am praying in accordance with His will and that I am being obedient to Him by giving up something I enjoy and using the time I spend on that for prayer.
I walk with a friend to her job. While walking today in the rain, I told her what I am praying for. It’s very difficult to verbalize this, because it’s so crazy and so out of my reach that I run the risk of being committed for believing the Lord will grant such an outlandish dream. On the way home I closed my umbrella and enjoyed the rain, just as the Psalmist enjoyed the anointing oil he spoke of in Psalm 133:2
“It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron,
running down on the edge of his garments.”
Now, I have to tell my readers that this is not a prosperity belief. God ultimately knows what is best for us, even to the point of not answering this prayer as I want. It reminds me of what being a child was like: at one point in my childhood, I wanted a mountain lion or a jaguar for a pet. My dad got me a housecat. A good parent doesn’t give a child what he or she wants necessarily. A good parent gives what his child can handle. God knows that this prayer is beyond me and what I can’t handle on my own, but He wants to help me and John handle what we can’t handle without Him.
And there’s another layer of this that I must acknowledge. It’s not something that’s pleasant to think of, but something that needs to be mentioned. What if God, in His infinite wisdom, knows that His name is more glorified in our suffering?
No one wants to suffer or ask God to be allowed to suffer, but sometimes we are called to suffer. It’s not an antithesis of praying and believing God for big things. It’s actually a necessary part of being perfectly obedient to what God wants to do in our lives. Maybe the Ebenezer Film company would not glorify God at all?
If that is the case, I say, “so be it. May it be done to me as the Lord knows best.” I would rather suffer for Jesus and give glory to God in my suffering than to be prosperous in this life and not have Him.
It’s not a “just in case I’m wrong” prayer. It’s laying down my wants and desires and giving it all to Him to do as He knows best.
And so, may the Lord be glorified no matter how He answers my prayers.