Once again I’d like to share a few of the prayers I’ve seen answered in my life over the past few weeks. In case you missed the initial write up, back in February I wrote about prayer becoming a focal point in my life and what exactly that means for me. I’ve certainly continued to pray regularly and far more often than I use to but it has changed a little during that time. For one, I’ve been using my prayer schedule less and praying more spontaneously throughout the day every day. It’s a result of feeling more confident in approaching the Lord despite not always feeling “worthy” because my confidence is in Christ. And it’s also because I am more mindful of my need for God in all things. However I would like to get back to using my list as well because otherwise I do tend to forget some needs and individuals I would like to be praying for. Regardless of how or when I pray, I am seeing God answer my prayers and it has been remarkably faith building.
Finding Favor in a Difficult Work Situation
A few weeks ago my boss visited one of the stores that I oversee as a regional manager. Her first reaction was not a positive one and as would be expected, I was concerned. I thought things had been going well at that location ever since it became a part of my region and it was really discouraging to be told otherwise. However her visit was not completely over yet and so while on the way home from another one of my stores I began to pray, “God help me to see what I was missing or help my boss to see things differently.”
In the end, I received both answers to that prayer. Shortly after I prayed and once her visit had concluded I was able to talk with my boss over the phone. Her response was very different from the first one I received, far more positive and encouraging. Most notably, she had taken the time to look at things more closely and to realize that a) some of the problems I was facing at that location were quite difficult to solve, so much so that even she after going over options for a half hour came to no viable solutions and b) there was actually a lot going well with that store and employee.
This past week I was able to visit that location myself and execute some of the plans my boss had made as well as problem solve quite a few new ones that had come up. It was a long week and physically exhausting work to get everything in order, but along the way I prayed daily for wisdom and each day that prayer was answered. When I left I was really happy about the solutions we had come up with, including those areas my boss had struggled to resolve. Employees from another department commented on the vast improvements as well, nothing that the store looked better than it had since it was opened. In the end I found both the understanding I had hoped for from my boss as well as an opportunity to get better at my job.
A Change of Plans
My daughter is going to be in an Easter play at our church next week on Palm Sunday. She loves acting and has been really excited about this play, even going so far as to running rehearsals with one of the neighbor girls who’s in the play as well. Unfortunately, I had assumed the play would be on Easter Sunday and did not realize there would be a conflict with my work schedule until a week ago. I had a flight at 7am that Sunday and I was going to miss the play. When I emailed the woman in charge, her response was that I could contact the airlines myself to make the change and that I would have to pay a $200 fee. I was discouraged and did not know what to do so I began to pray.
The next morning on my way to work I continued to pray. I thought maybe a voucher I had with the airlines might work as one possible solution. Another thought I had was to simply pay the fee and trust in the Lord to provide the finances. Two hundred dollars is a lot of money for us, but to God it is nothing and if he was giving me an opportunity to show my daughter just how much I loved her then I was going to take it. Two minutes after I concluded my prayer I received a text from the same woman who had told me the night before it was up to me to make the change. She was contacting me so that I could pick from two later flights that would allow me to make my daughter’s show. Not only had she done the work of finding a different flight for me, but she ended up paying the fee as well. It was completely unexpected but I am so grateful that now I get to see my daughter’s play.
Bringing the Neighborhood
I’ve been praying for the kids in our neighborhood a lot lately, especially a boy and a girl next door who’ve had a difficult home life this past year. The two kids and their dad live with his parents, our neighbors, and the mother is pretty much out of the picture. Specifically I was praying that they would start coming to church with us. Eventually they did but before that happened, one of the other neighbor kids spent the night with my daughter and went to church with my wife and kids the next day (I was out of town). When the neighbor girl and Sophie were talking about it later that week the two that I had been praying for overhead and wanted to go as well. My wife told me this on Saturday that week when I got home which is when I shared with her my prayers.
The next morning we received a call from the grandparents wondering about church that morning for their grandkids. Even though my wife hadn’t actually invited them, the kids had wanted to go so badly they told their family that we had. Knowing that this was an answer to what I had been praying for (and probably noting the grin on my face while she was on the phone) my wife officially extended the invitation. They’ve come with us for two Sunday now along with the other neighbor girl and I hope they will all continue to come every Sunday.
Sick Rats and Dog Bites (Cont.)
Remember the older man I met a couple of weeks ago, the one whose dog bit my son? I ended up inviting him to church that following Sunday after we had a brief conversation about God in the emergency room lobby. That Saturday I gave him a call to give him the address and the time when the service would start and he still seemed genuinely interested in coming along with his wife. Sunday morning came and the time I told him to arrive past and still I did not see them. Ten minutes later the service began and my wife and I took our seats (along with half our neighborhood…) I kept looking to the back, praying they would come and despite the late time was still anticipating their arrival. Sure enough they showed up, and the smile on my son’s face made me so happy. He understood that even though something scary had happened to him, God had used it for good.