If you had asked me a year ago about prayer, I would have said it was a really great thing for people who have time for that sort of stuff. I wouldn’t have actually spoken those words–because that’s not the right Christian answer–but it’s how I felt. Juggling school, jobs, moves, friends, family, church, and everything else that comes with growing up, I felt like I was drowning. And when someone’s drowning, why should they waste the precious air they have on pleas that might not be heard? I’m a controller. A perfectionist. An organizer and planner. So when things are overwhelming or out of my control, I panic. But my panic seldom involved prayer.
Two days ago, Kent had a job interview. It wasn’t his first interview, but it was his first choice. When 4:00 hit, I got on my knees and spent some quality time with God.
Lord, give him confidence and peace.
[Don’t let his voice shake and his sweat make pit stains.]
Lord, please let him be prepared and have the right answers to their questions.
[Exterminate “like” and “um” from his vocabulary.]
Lord, be with the interviewers this whole hour.
[Don’t let them be thinking about the pizza they’re getting tonight or the game they want to catch at 8:00.]
Look, I’ve been in weight rooms. I’ve tried to change a tire, only to be stopped by the fact that I wasn’t strong enough to loosen the lugnuts. I’ve stood next to men and women way more intimidating than me. I’m aware that I am not very powerful. But because of that awareness, I’m able to not waste any time in calling on the One who has all of the power.
When you pray for something and it happens, what do you do? I know for the longest time I would be talking with someone about the answered prayer, shrug, smile, and say, “Definitely a God thing.” Which brings me to something that I think is crucially important, and a lot of Christians don’t understand. When you pray to the Master and Creator and He decides your petition is in line with His plan, that’s not something you shrug about. That’s not a “God, you powerful rascal, you did it again” kind of thing. Do you understand the transaction that just happened? Because it’s pretty mind-blowing, if you think about it. That’s the Holy of Holies not only allowing you to speak, but listening when you do. Try to respond appropriately.
At 4:55, I got a call from Kent.
“How did it go? What’d they say?” I was pretty nervous, but I’m sure he had enough nerves for the both of us.
“Well…I think the interview went okay, but I just got a call and they want me to come back into the room.”
My heart may have skipped a beat or two. This had to be good, right? Please, please be good!
“Uh, okay. I’ll keep praying then. Call me later!”
15 minutes later I got another call, one that definitively answered the question How did it go?
“Babe, I just got a job offer.” After twice confirming that he was not joking and/or lying, I proceeded to simultaneously cry and do a happy dance. No one gets a job offer after a first interview, but God had different plans.
Am I positive that Kent wouldn’t have gotten the job if I had changed into my pajamas at 4:00, reheated some nachos (never a good idea. Try to finish them at the first sitting) and watched The West Wing for three hours? Nope. He definitely still could’ve gotten the job. Do I think that because I prayed really, really, really hard, God listened and decided to take pity on me? No, but that’s not to say it can’t happen. Is it possible that I am more trusting, more in tune with Jesus, and more submissive to His will after this intense episode of prayer? You betcha.
Let’s say Kent didn’t get the job offer, or for some reason the offer gets taken off the table. Does this mean God isn’t good? Nah, it just means He’s shutting that door. As a matter of fact, you can pray for shut doors. That sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? If you want to remain in God’s will, ask for doors to be shut to pathways you should not be going down. It’s funny…talking to Kent that night, he told me that one of the things the interviewers had been impressed with was his knowledge of the company, and how much he appreciated their integrity in the industry. Back in my apartment, head bowed still, I asked God to lead Kent to a job where he is surrounded by people of integrity in a company with solid values.
Be careful what you pray for. God always hears, and always answers, and sometimes it’s exactly what you ask for.
Before You Go
What are some prayers God has answered for you personally? What are some you are still waiting patiently for?