Do you ever find yourself whispering half-hearted prayers, you know, the ones you feel you should pray, but you’re not clear whether they’ll get answered. In fact, you’re pretty sure they’re so BIG, that they would be hard to have the answer you want happen anyway. I’ll confess that I’ve done that. As much as I like to think of myself as a stringer on the line-up of prayer warriors, I know I have a lot to learn before I can join the big leagues. There are people that are pretty darn close to “moving mountains” and I think that’s awesome, but I don’t think I’m one of them.
I have managed to understand though that if you’re praying for rain, you need to carry an umbrella. In that spirit, about ten years ago already, I bought a wedding dress. It was funny because I bought the dress and I didn’t even have a date anywhere close by. In fact, the lady in the bridal shop was very excited about the purchase and when she asked me when I was getting married, I responded that I didn’t know for sure, but since I was praying for a partner, I thought I should buy a dress so I’d be ready. Kind of like carrying that umbrella when you’re praying for rain.
Well, the dress is still in a wrapper, and I’m still praying. But there’s a lesson that I’m learning in the process and it’s something I remember Jesus said to his followers. He commented to them that if they only had the faith the size of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. He also said that they would receive whatever it is they truly believed. It’s finally dawning on me that maybe the problem is not so much the prayer, or being ready for the answer if God decides to answer it, but in believing God will answer it. Believing is receiving when you pray, trusting and knowing that the answer will come.
That kind of praying isn’t easy. I’ve actually only had that experience a few times where I can honestly say that I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to pray for something, wanted me to believe unconditionally, because He had the answer and He wanted to bless the lives of people I was praying for. Even though I knew the outcome (in my heart of hearts) I was still required to pray.
In one of my “knowing” prayers, I was believing that a friend of mine was absolutely supposed to have a baby. I felt no doubt about it, even though four doctors had said there was no possibility and everything imaginable was stacked against a baby coming into her world. My sister is my prayer partner and we prayed fervently for this baby, believing against all odds that God would grant this prayer. The woman we prayed for went month after month with every hope dashed, every effort thwarted, and yet we prayed. Our prayer after many months was to culminate with the hoped for event to be in place by Mother’s Day since that was a fitting date. A week before Mother’s Day, I saw my friend and there was no news that sounded promising and yet we persisted in the prayer.
When Mother’s Day came, my friend called me. I didn’t know what to say because I was so heartbroken that our prayer had not been answered. After wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day, she finally blurted out that she thought she was pregnant, that she had taken a test and it had come out positive and then a second one and it had come out positive. With tears flowing down my cheeks, I tried to take in the mystery of this, the awesome realization that God had truly answered. It was a miracle and a lesson in believing is receiving because we never stopped believing.
Today my friend has two beautiful children, miracle babies born to a couple who were told it was impossible for them. Impossible for them, maybe. Impossible for God, never!
So, with that example, I keep the dress, still in the tissue, high up in the closet, still awaiting the answer to the prayer. For a long time I prayed for this partner, not quite believing he would show up. Today, I’m believing he will and I’ve got the dress to prove it!