The big “eye roll.” We’ve all done it—whether inwardly, outwardly, within our minds, our hearts, or even subconsciously. It’s that moment when our “inside” voice is screaming, “Really? Seriously?” I’ve often said that if I had a nickel for every eye roll, I would be a billionaire. As a kid, I wondered if my eyeballs would get stuck in the top of my head.
When God Fixed my Pessimistic Heart:
One of the most marked moments of my skepticism was in response to a prayer and will forever be etched in my mind. God saw the eye roll—as well as the attitude within my heart. It was a moment God has reminded me of often—a moment God taught a lesson in prayer to this cynical preacher’s kid, who was non-trusting and guarded.
It was my 10th grade year, and I was in the den studying (or possibly writing love notes). In the living room mirror, I could see the reflection of my Mom and Dad on their knees and I could hear them praying, “Dear Lord, we need two new tires, and we don’t have the money in the budget. We are praying in faith, believing, that you will send $46.33 our way.” What in the world? They must have gone totally crazy. Couldn’t they have rounded up that number? My eyes were actually hurting; I had rolled them so many times that one afternoon.
Moments later, while still on their knees, there was a knock at the door. Both parents stopped their prayer and greeted Mr. Towers, one of our church members, who was also the richest man in the county. He owned cattle, land, businesses—seemingly everything. I could see him standing there embarrassed, dressed in dirty overalls, and hear him profusely apologizing. He explained to my Dad that he was on the way home and God told him to stop and give them some money.
I can still hear Mr. Tower’s voice as he said, “Pastor McCoy, I don’t have a check with me. In fact, I don’t even have much cash. But God emphatically told me to stop and give you what I have.” As he emptied his dirty pockets, out fell $46.33.
The eye roll stopped.
“It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24 (NKJV)
One of my favorite verses is this one in Isaiah. That’s a direct promise from God. Knowing that He is already at work, even before we ask, allows us to take our eyes off our own circumstances and inabilities and place our trust in Him. We accept His invitation to bring before Him our disappointments and heartaches, with the confidence that He has everything under control and is working things out for our good and His glory.
It never occurred to my Mom and Dad that God wouldn’t answer their prayer. Their specific prayer. Their faith was unshakable—relentless—couldn’t be weakened.
Praying with Persistence:
I think one of the hardest spots to be in is when we pray and seemingly nothing happens. Nothing changes. It takes special strength and deep resolve to keep on praying even when the heavens seem silent. Persistence can change your perspective—for good or bad. We can feel hopeless, helpless, or more determined, to continue pleading with God for an answer. In a world of instant gratification, we tend to be guilty of putting God on our timeline. Let’s face it —everything is expedited these days. In a matter of minutes, we can instantly communicate and receive answers through texts and emails. Hungry? We can place an order and have it quickly delivered to our door or take advantage of call-ahead seating. Groceries? Call them in; pick them up. What’s harder is waiting on God to move. That’s when our faith is tried. And when our walk of faith is tested.
On our 25thwedding anniversary, while in St. Thomas, Hub gave me a beautiful ring, purchased there on the island. It was a special treasure I knew would always be meaningful. I couldn’t wait to get home and show it to the kids. I wore it every day with pride as I recalled the sweet memories we shared while on the island. And then one day—I lost my beautiful ring! I prayed every day, for twenty years, that it would be found. One morning I faced a serious surgery and my heart was filled with fear. I prayed and asked God to give me a sign—something—anything—to assure me everything would be okay. Moments later, through the oddest and most unlikely of circumstances, Hub found the ring. I could feel the color drain from my face; I was shocked. But why?
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 (NKJV)
For those of you who are in a prayer battle over serious issues concerning your spouse, kids, family, job, finances, etc., be encouraged. Giving up is not an option. God is not in a hurry, but His timing is always perfect—never too early and never too late. Stop watching the clock. He cares about everything that touches our lives, both big and small. Keep praying.
Praying with Promise:
When I think of women in the Bible who were great prayer warriors, I’m reminded that they were not extraordinary. They were every-day women, with every-day needs and challenges. I don’t know that God is moved more by women’s prayers, but I do think we have special favor. Throughout scripture, we see how God extends His hand and reaches down to pull women to a place of value and honor. He chose to redeem mankind via a woman’s body; it was to a woman that Jesus chose to appear first, after He was resurrected.
Also, He took special care of His mother as He hung on the cross. He chose women to be in the lineage of Christ. When these ladies prayed, it took dramatic faith and supernatural grace. Hannah desperately prayed for a son. God gave her Samuel. With the power of God and great bravery, Queen Esther’s prayers saved God’s people.
Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is a great example of how God keeps His promises. At the age of 90, she delivered a son, just as God had said. I imagine she often gave up on God and am quite sure that over the years Sarah questioned God’s timing.
And who could forget Jochebed, Moses’ mother? Could you put your baby in a crocodile infested river? That took great faith; yet because she believed God’s promise, one day Moses led God’s people out of the bondage of Egypt.
The promises of God. I know that He hears our prayers, sees our tears, understands our heartache, and is moved with compassion. He’s a promise keeper.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)
Read Their Stories:
- Hannah: I Samuel 1- 2:21
- Queen Esther: Esther
- Sarah: Genesis 16-21
- Jochebed: Exodus 2:1-10
Praying with Power:
It has been said, “When you enter God’s presence with praise, He enters your circumstances with power.” Life can be busy—sometimes overwhelming. It’s during those times we need to step away and unplug from the craziness that surrounds us and reconnect to the source of our strength. We need quiet time to reflect on God’s goodness and mercy and praise Him for all that He’s done. Too often we are like the Israelites and forget God’s greatness and provision in situations past.
If you could take a snapshot of your prayer life, what would it look like? Cloudy? Clear? No picture at all? Our lives are not defined by one moment, but rather by a lifelong journey of prayerful communication with an awesome God.
Never underestimate the power of His presence, the purpose of His plan, or the position of His greatness.
Stop the eye roll and believe the impossible.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
This is From My Heart~
Bonnie Lovelace is a member of the writing team on The Hallelujah House. She is married to her best friend Hub (yes, that’s what he’s called) and they have two adult children. She has a passion for writing, speaking, and sharing the Hope of Jesus Christ. You can find Bonnie’s full bio by clicking on the About Us tab above.
If you enjoyed this article on prayer, you may like to read Liz Hammond’s story on fasting and prayer “When God Shuts the Door.”