“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” ~Psalm 138:3 ESV
Lord, I’m desperate for direction. Should I return to work or stay home a little longer?
Closing my prayer journal, I picked up my phone and tapped the email icon in hopes of finding the answer to my prayer in the form of a job offer. I had sent my resume out to prospective employers and submitted multiple applications online, only to be met with silence. This apply-prayer-email cycle continued for over a month. A long, desperate month.
I’d left full-time work to stay home with our children. Now our slim budget threatened to break under the weight of the unexpected. We’d built up our emergency fund repeatedly only to see it emptied again and again by yet another emergency. With too much month at the end of our money, my return to work seemed inevitable.
When our church planned a week of prayer and fasting, I knew exactly what would be at the top of my prayer list. For a week I denied myself sweets, meats, and bread while I fervently sought the Lord in prayer. I prayed over specific needs for our family, friends, and church. I watched as God answered my prayers for others, but he seemed to remain silent about my greatest need.
On the last day of the fast, my polite tone melted. I felt unseen and unheard. I told God about my disappointment over unfulfilled expectations. I didn’t see any reason to hide it; he knows my every thought. In my prayer journal I wrote:
I want to see miraculously and clearly what is next. Writing on the wall stuff. An email from you. Do I step out on faith? Jump and hope the ground graciously meets me?
With the black ink still shiny and wet on the page, my phone dinged. God, is that you? I thought. I don’t usually pick up my phone while praying, but if God sent me a message, I had to know what it said. I was driven by curiosity over the possibilities.
It wasn’t an email, but a text message from a former coworker. Her husband had taken a job out of state, and they planned to move in a few weeks. She asked me to consider covering her job until a replacement could be found.
God didn’t type out the message, but he absolutely sent it through the fingers of my friend. Just like David had in our key verse from the Psalms, I knew God heard my prayers, and that he had something planned for me. Knowing God heard me strengthened my faith. Even if this job didn’t work out, I knew God was near.
Some consider such events a coincidence. And good things happen without prayer. But when we take our concerns to God, our eyes focus on his hand at work in our lives. We tune our ears to hear his voice. Well-timed text messages become extraordinary answers to prayer.
Father, thank you that you hear our prayers. You listen and you answer, even if we don’t always see the result immediately. We worship you as the God who sees the past, present, and future in clearest vision. You know what’s best for us and the right time to reveal the next step. Help us to hold on to faith and not grow weary in prayer.
Scriptures for Reflection
“This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14 CSB)
“Listen to my words, Lord;
consider my sighing.
Pay attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for I pray to you.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.” (Psalm 5:1–3 CSB)
Reach for More
One of the first steps of prayer is to determine what to pray about. Take a few minutes to dream God’s dreams for yourself for the new year. What is that one thing you want to believe, but you can’t see how it might happen? This is the place faith takes over. Commit to pray about it daily. Ask God to increase your faith and see clearly the ways he answers your prayer in the coming year.
We would love to pray with you! Share your New Year’s prayer requests on The Glorious Table Community page so we can join you in prayer. You can also share faith-building answers to prayer on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children. In the quiet minutes of her day, you will find her at the keyboard or curled up with a book–always with coffee. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at mrsdisciple.com.
Photograph © Raw Pixel, used with permission