Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that
we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (CSB)
Sitting around the dining room table, my mother unrolled a large roll of bright yellow butcher paper. With a large black marker, she wrote in all capital letters: PRAYER LIST.
My mother told her ten year-old twins (me and my sister) to write down everything we were in need of, which was pretty much everything from toilet paper to gas to a car. We asked for food. We asked for clothes. We asked for simple needs.
But mother pushed us to not just ask for what we needed, but what we wanted deep in our hearts.
We wrote down my grandfather’s name and salvation in parenthesis.
We didn’t just write down a car, we asked for a specific car that we saw on a billboard off the freeway.
We even asked for the dog seated next to the car on the billboard.
At the end of our time together, we prayed over what seemed to be like a long list of impossibilities.
Slowly but surely, dark lines were scratched through our requests as they were answered. Neighbors would drop by with extra food they didn’t want to waste, boxes of clothes and bags of food mysteriously appeared on our porch, and we thanked God for His provisions and answered prayer.
God didn’t just give us necessities; He gave us our hearts’ desires.
We never starved, we never lost the home, and we had clothes on our back. But what’s greater is Grandpa is in heaven, we got the exact car we dreamed of (same color, make, and model), and even though we didn’t get the labrador featured on the billboard, we did end up with a crazy mutt, whom we loved!
Lately, I’ve been feeling like Mister Rogers trying to sell wishes in a bottle: Buy this book, drink this drink, memorize this Scripture, and you too can have the life you always wanted! If anything, I’m sharing hope — hope that things can change because seasons change, hearts melt, and time heals.
In the midst of our trials, we knew that prayer changed our circumstances — not that we got what we wanted from prayer, but that our hearts changed to accept whatever we were dealing with. Prayer changes things, then and now.
As part of our ongoing celebration of (in)courage’s tenth birthday, we’re sharing timely words from our archives. This post was originally written by Bianca Olthoff in December 2010.
What are you praying for?
Here at (in)courage, one of our greatest privileges is turning to God together in prayer. Please leave a prayer request in the comments and then pray for the person who commented before you.
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