Miguel lives more than a day’s drive away. We don’t get to see each other very often. We’re good friends from way back. So we try to catch up every once in a while via Skype.
About six months ago, life wasn’t treating him very well. Business was down and it was really discouraging. I said I’d pray – you know, like friends do. But to make it happen, I put a daily reminder in my phone. Every day at 11 am, I get a little reminder that says, “Pray for Miguel.” So I did.
Some days, I’d pray for a minute. Some days, for a few seconds. Some days, I’d think, “Oh yeah,” and continue doing whatever it was I was wrapped up in.
We checked back in a few weeks ago, and Miguel’s mood and business were both better.
After we finished our call, I remembered Jesus saying, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I was asking God to help Miguel, like a kid would. I had less faith than a kid – I knew that such things are big and difficult, but I also knew that God is bigger than Miguel’s problems – and my problems.
A few days later, I remembered that God had answered several other recent prayers. A buddy in North Carolina got a job really quick, after he asked for prayers. (I said I’d pray, so I checked back to see how things were – that’s when I found out.) We got a renter for our basement apartment, after another one fell through. Friends in their 50s bought a house for the first time. I didn’t pray about that one, though I knew they were praying.
Prayer is not a magic bullet. God doesn’t always fix every problem we bring to Him.
My grandmother prayed for her alcoholic son till the day he died. She wore out her knees, praying so much. For almost 20 years, I’ve been praying for a situation that hasn’t changed. Yet.
I don’t know why God answer some prayers so clearly and others not. Either way should drive me to trust Him.
Like a kid.
Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.