Prayers with Muscles

17 Aug

Boy praying - face upwardFive-year-old Ricky said grace at family dinner one night.  “Dear God, thank you for these pancakes,” he said.

When he finished praying, his mother asked, “Ricky, why did you thank God for pancakes? We’re having chicken tonight.”

Ricky smiled and said, “I thought I’d see if God was paying attention tonight.” (1)

Texan Jeannette Sharp, whose writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers and other titles, compiled the book Hurray God! ~ Hope, Pray, Believe She tells a personal story of an answer to prayer that rocked her world as a child and helped her to understand the power of God.

In “Five Boxes of Christmas Cards,” Jeannette wrote about an incident in fifth grade . She hurried home after school to pick up a case of boxed Christmas cards. She wanted to sell them, door-to-door.

“I headed out with high hopes, and knocked on every door for blocks, but found no buyers,” she said.”

Her father had died earlier that year, and the urgent need to make money to help her family griped her young heart. “I worried about our money and could tell mother did, too,” she said. “I often saw her fight back tears. She wrote down everything she spent in a little black book.”

Jeannette knew that Christmas would be bleak without her daddy. And so, as it turned dark outside and cold winds blew, she decided to try one more house.

“As I walked up the driveway and knocked on the door,” she said, “I whispered, ‘O God, please help me sell all five boxes,’ she said. The bigness of my prayer seemed almost unreasonable.”

The lady who answered the door bought ALL FIVE boxes.

“I could hardly believe my ears,” Jeannette said. “All of a sudden, nothing mattered ~ not what Mother’s little black book said, the cold north wind, or that Daddy was gone.” Clutching the money for the cards, she ran home to tell her story.

“We had always gone to church, and I believed in God,” she wrote.  “But this was the first time I knew through and through in my heart that God heard me, saw me, and cared for me.” (1)

I love that story, and others in the book encourage me to hope in God and believe Him for more. Hurray God bookJeannette’s book stretches faith and renews the desire for powerful (not wimpy)  praying.

Has God ever answered an “unreasonable” prayer for you … a prayer you prayed with muscles, bold in seeking an answer to a desperate need? Though we cannot force God’s hand ~ our prayers do not manipulate Him ~ I believe that God is honored by bold prayers, and especially when we plead His promises.

Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) to remind us that we should always pray and not give up. We can pray boldly (Hebrews4:16) because we believe our Heavenly Father desires to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:7-11).

The Bible tells us that the prayers of righteous believers are powerful and effective (James 5:16b). Jesus shared a story about a man who had unexpected guests and no food to serve them. The man pounded on his neighbor’s door, asking for bread, and his persistent boldness had positive results (Luke 11:5-8).

It’s true! God wants us to pray with MUSCLES … and remember: muscles grow stronger with exercise. Flex your prayer muscles today!

(1) Adapted from a joke at: http://www2.netdoor.com/~gina/cleanjokes.htm

(2) From Jeannette Sharp’s compilation of hope-filled stories,  Hurray God! Hope, Pray, Believe (WinePress Publishing, 2011), pp. 124-125

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