Friday, June 17, 2016

Do We Pray Without Seeing?



I walked into the reception area. My heart leaped around like a baby goat. Another job interview. I’d lived in the Houston area for year and my new engineering degree had burned a hole in my pocket.

I’d prayed, a lot. While I scoured newspapers for jobs, I prayed. When I filled out an application, I prayed. Every time I headed in for an interview…well, you get the picture. Even so, the jobs always went to someone else. I was pretty discouraged.

That morning, I prayed extra hard. I had an interview with a company that contracted engineers to work at NASA. Wow, wouldn’t that be cool? There were a few openings for engineers to design experiments and to help train the astronauts to perform them while on the shuttle. It almost took my breath away!

I sat in the reception area and squirmed. I chatted with the lady at the desk and commented that I’d prayed all the way there. She assured me the Lord had just the right job for me and said she’d pray during my interview.

It went great! So great, in fact, that they offered me the job on the spot. Can you start on Monday? I stared at my future boss in shock and I said – get this – “I have to pray about it.”

I went back into the reception area and the lady excitedly asked me how it went. I told her I’d been offered the job and I was going to pray about it. She looked at me like I’d suddenly sprouted a giraffe’s head. “Honey, you’ve been praying! You’ve prayed like crazy. Don’t you recognize His answer when it’s staring you in the face? You get right back in there and take this job!”

As her words sunk into my brain, my soon-to-be boss came into the room. I turned and said, “Is that job still open?” (Duh, it had been all of 2 minutes.) Two hours later, I sat in my car with paperwork in my lap that said I was an engineer at NASA!!

Now, what’s wrong with this story? I prayed diligently. I asked for wisdom and guidance. Every time I walked into an interview room, I prayed for clear direction. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, I focused so hard on prayer that I forgot to keep my eyes open for His answer. If not for that sweet lady, I would’ve walked away without a job – an amazing job that took me from exhilaration to tragedy and back again over the next nine years.

How often do we do that? We pray faithfully. We might write our prayer requests in a journal. We go back and pray through them every morning. They stay on our hearts days on end, perhaps years go by.

Then, an opportunity comes along. Do we embrace it or stare at it blindly?

We pray for healing in a relationship and a chance comes to visit that person. Do we pray, “God, should I talk to them about this or just chit-chat and see how it goes?” Or “Thank You! Soften our hearts and guide my words.”

We pray for a used car that fits our tight budget and the perfect one appears on a sales lot. “God, this is great! It’s just what I need and I can afford it. Should I buy it?” Or “Praise You, Lord! You answer prayer!!”

We’re unemployed and pray diligently for a job opportunity. An interview goes great and the perfect job’s ours for the taking. “Lord, this is amazing! I can’t believe it! I’m going home and pray about it some more.” Or “Lord, Your goodness is beyond words! I’m in awe of You. Thank You!”

Prayer changes us. It teaches us to
  • Pray with confidence, assured that He hears.
  • Pray expectantly and wait in faith.
  • Burst with joy when we see His answer.  

I realize this might be a bit simplistic. Of course, the "perfect" thing might not be God's answer. But, as we bring our requests before Him, pray for eyes to see His answer. If you do, you'll recognize it when it comes along. 

Cling to your faith. 
Stand on the confidence that He hears. 
Be alert for His answer. 
Praise Him when it comes.

Then grasp His gift with both hands and make Him proud!


Please Share! 

14 comments:

  1. Boy, I needed this! The staying alert part is what I need. I do pray quite a bit, but like you at that time, I don't always stay alert expecting His answer. Thank you for this!

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    1. I need it, too, Heather! It seems that God always prompts me to write on what I need the most. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. This was sooo good, Sherry! I needed to hear this fresh perspective on prayer. Thank you!

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    1. We all need a fresh perspective, Crickett! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I had tried to post before, but I guess it never went through. I needed this post! I do the praying, but I have trouble with being alert for His answer. Thank you for writing this!

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  4. I have a problem staying alert too. I used to keep a prayer journal and I'd go back and mark of prayer requests as they were met. It was amazing what God does. I need to do that again. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. I love your story. But how can I recognize a "no" from the Lord? Sometimes he said: no. Or: not yet.

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    1. That's so true, Jedidja. Sometimes it's hard to discern God's answer. There are times when the answer is obvious, like with my job interview, and other times when we wait and wait with no answer in sight. I always ask for eyes to see the answer to a prayer. If I have any doubt at all, I continue to pray and wait.

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  6. No, not simplistic. Written just the way I needed it, and looks like others did too. Thank you for that super great reminder!

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    1. Thank you, dear friend! I find simple is the best way for me to pour out my heart.

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  7. Yes, a great reminder that we often stay focused on the problem not the answer.

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    1. So true, Helen! I find things go much better if I stop focusing on the problem or on the answer and focus on God. Then He gives me eyes to see His ework.

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  8. I appreciate seeing this from your perspective. There have been times when I asked God for an answer, but I already knew what He would want. Other times, maybe I am like Gideon and want confirmation. You replied to someone else's comment that we can ask God if we are in doubt. When do you think we should thank Him and go for opportunity, and we should pray again to make sure?

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to discern, isn't it Katy? God's interaction with each person is different but my experience is that, if I ask faithfully to be sensitive to the Spirit, He will make it clear.

      My mom always said "When in doubt, don't." If there's any niggle of doubt, I step back and pray. That niggle always protects me from making a mistake. At that interview, I had no niggle but I chose to step back anyway. If not for God's scolding through that wonderful woman, I would have missed His blessing.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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