Today is the National Day of Prayer. The theme this year is “Lord, Hear Our Cry,” emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator.
“Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.” – Kings 8:28
Ironically, this theme and this scripture have been at the center of my life and daily prayers and I didn’t fully realize it until recently.
Prayer is a powerful thing! And when grounded in faith, it can be life changing!
Now, that doesn’t mean we get everything we pray for or exactly what we want, how we want it. But rest assured that God hears you and He answers our cries. He answers your prayers based on His plan and His best for you. It is up to us to be obedient and answer the call when He does, even when it does not come in the form or package that you envisioned.
Since becoming unexpectedly unemployed in June of 2014, I have been praying for God to bless me with my next incredible job opportunity. You see, my career has always been rock solid where my faith is concerned. I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities to not only grow and shine, but to use the spiritual gifts and talents God has given me to do good and make a difference in the lives of others.
So when praying for my next extraordinary opportunity, I left myself open to whatever God would bring. My expectation was that whatever it was would be according to His will and purpose for my life, just like all of my jobs before it. Now, I laugh at myself because while I sincerely said that, there was the human part of me that prayed that prayer daily, but really, I was seeking a “yes” from God for the next ideal job that I had already envisioned in my head. And when day after day and job interview after job interview passed without a positive result, I began to question why God didn’t hear me. Was I not praying right? Was I not praying for the right thing? Had I lost my close connection to God? Was I being punished for some wrong or sin that I had committed? Had I lost favor?
Turns out, God had answered my prayers. He had given me a job. He had given me an extraordinary opportunity to nurture, care for and help comfort my incredible friend, Stacie, during the final months of her life. He had given me my biggest job yet and entrusted one of His most precious gifts in my care. And He dared me not to answer His call. He dared me to love unselfishly and to be there for her, no matter what.
So when my dear, brave friend Stacie called me in February after battling cancer for four years to tell me that she had just received news from her doctor that she may only have two to three months to live, I answered her call. I answered God’s call. And without hesitation I said, “Whatever you need.”
And for the next two months, I would be there for my friend of 30 years and her family. I drove back and forth from my home in Frisco, Texas to her home in Austin to take care of my friend until the end. I didn’t worry about not having a corporate job. I didn’t worry about how I would pay my bills, eat or put gas in the car. Instead, I prayed and trusted God in my every day.
And because I was obedient to His call, God provided for me and continues to bless me in unexpected ways. The important thing was that He didn’t leave me when I needed Him most. He has carried me during this season of my life, sharpened me and strengthened me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
Stacie lost her fight with cancer on Easter Sunday and went home to rest. But I emerged as an amazing warrior from this experience with new found depths of strength, faith, wisdom, hope and love that I didn’t even know I had. I again became unemployed from a job I didn’t know I had until it was done, because God had answered my prayers, just not in the way I had imagined.
God is funny like that. His “yes” sometimes comes in the form of your unanswered prayer.
This chorus from Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers” reminds me of God’s goodness and the real gifts He gives us in the form of unanswered prayers.
“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean He don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
It is clear to me now that if God had answered my prayer exactly as I had imagined, I would have missed out on an extraordinary opportunity and the great gift that He had for me this season. I didn’t know that my friend would need me, but He did.
Now that job is over, but I believe that He is not done with me yet. He has a unique and extraordinary plan for my life that is still unfolding and I am patiently waiting and praying each day to answer my next call.
On this National Day of Prayer, I’d like to invite you to join me in answering the call. Let’s not only pray for ourselves. Let’s join together and pray, meditate, light a candle or sit in quiet reflection for our world, country, family, friends and the Loving On Me community. Through prayer, let’s be open to answering the call and serving others in need, wherever you are.
Peace and Blessings!