I recently wrote an article about teaching children to pray. I used the Lord's Prayer as a model to guide young children through the process of prayer. I also included important information that every child should know about prayer including the following: nothing is too little or too big to pray about, we can pray anytime and anywhere, it is important to pray in faith, and finally, we should be specific when we pray. I couldn't help but smile when I thought about the last point because it brought to mind a memory from long ago.
It had been one of those days, weeks, and months. The bank account was low. The number of bills was high. And my stress level was through the roof. I worried and prayed how we would make ends meet. No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't seem to get ahead. There always seemed to be more month than money. I was convinced that God had forsaken us.
It was during this low point that my pastor preached a message just for me. In a nutshell, he said, "If you aren't getting specific answers to your prayers, maybe it's because you aren't praying specific prayers." It was like a light bulb came on in my head. That's it, I thought. God knows what I need, but He wants me to ask for it, and He wants me to be specific. So I asked, and I got VERY specific.
"Dear Lord," I prayed, "You know how tight things are right now, and You know how stressed I feel about our financial situation. I know that You are the God of miracles. I've seen the works You've performed throughout the Bible, and I know that You can perform a similar work for me. God, I'm asking You to meet this need. Please send us a $300 check in the mail. I don't care who it's from or how it will find its way to us. You said we should get specific in our prayers, so I am. $300. In the mail. Today. I know you can do it, and I believe You will."
Honestly, though, I had my doubts. Yes, I believed that God could, but I didn't really believe He would. As the mailman pulled up in front of our house, I watched him load the mailbox. He pulled off, and I hurried out to see if my prayers had been answered. I couldn't have been more stunned. . . or more tickled.
On the very top of the pile was a check for $300 from a local car dealership. It was one of those deals where you bring in the check, and they deduct that amount from the sales price of the car of your choosing. I laughed out loud. I laughed back to the house. I laughed that night as I told my husband about it. I'm laughing now as I tell you about it. Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.
Now, some of you may be thinking that God didn't meet my need. Actually, He did, just not with that $300 check. He met the need in other ways, but He used that $300 check to teach me a few things.
1. God always hears and answers our prayers. It may not be in the way we want or expect, but He is faithful.
2. When we pray specific prayers, we'll get specific answers. My problem was that I wasn't specific enough. I got a $300 check just like I asked for. I received it in the mail on the day I specified, only I neglected to ask that it be something I could actually take to the bank.
3. Sometimes the best way to meet our needs is to help us adjust our attitudes. A merry heart truly does good like a medicine. The worries and stresses of that time period are all but forgotten, but God's message still rings clear today.