Prayer a prospective or maybe a retrospective.
Prayer can be a strange thing. I pray throughout the day, I tend to start before even getting out of bed, and pray off and on throughout the day. I keep prayer lists and pray for specific things for family and friends, and for prayer requests that get passed along. But I tend to often see result for things I pray for other people and at times it seems like nothing I pray for myself gets answered. Jobs, houses being sold for more than listed, entering ministry and more. I was out of work 3 years with an injury, applied for hundreds of jobs and nothing. Do not get me wrong, I love praying! But here is a story for you. …
A few years ago I was looking for a way to do cardio at home. At the time with 2 kids under 5 and a third on the way to get out and go to a gym was just not feasible. Between my working days, and my wife working evening and weekends we were seldom home together as it was. In the period of about 6 months I mentioned to 5 or 6 people that I was looking for an exercise bike for home, only to have them say they had just got rid of one, given it away, put it at the curb, given to good will … So I though God knows about all of these bikes being disposed of, and he knows I want and need one to help me stay in better shape. So I started praying for one. After 2 years of nothing shared the prayer request last fall a small number of people. After 10 months with nothing I asked some people to consider helping this prayer request come to fruition.
But I need to share something here, 3 years ago when I started praying for a bike I would have taken any bike. But as time when on I found I had some requirements. Concerns about the kids and injury's because there is nowhere in the house they could not get at it. So I emailed a friend and as a joke the subject was "Not for this type of bike have I prayed." I realized not any bike would do with the kids, our limited space and other factors. I soon found I had three criteria for a bike and one I could never have imagined.
This past week I had a friend offer $150 towards the bike. Then he called back the next day and said God said to give $300. So I checked every used bike on Kajiji last night and not one meets the requirements. I found an amazing bike new at Fitness Depot that is recumbent, has no open wheel, meets the third requirement. And it is on sale for $348 down from $498 but quantities are limited because it is on sale for a newer version of the model coming out. The pastor went and put the down payment. There is still a little ways to go. But God has basically answered the prayer from 3 years ago. But he did not answer right away because back then I did not know all the needs, I only saw part of the picture. But God knew the whole picture and if he had answered back then a need now would not have been met. His timing is always perfect.
No some people might say 'you pray about an exercise bike'? people have cancer, the weather this summer, hunger … But God tells us to bring all our concerns to him. He cares about our whole lives. Jesus said "I am come that you might have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10. We are also told "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6. Last year I read a number of books by Mark Batterson he states "The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked." - The Circle Maker Now let's be clear Mark also states "Drawing prayer circles isn't some magic trick to get what you want from God. God is not a genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish.".
God has three answers to prayer, yes, no, and not right now. Too often we settle for too little by giving up and not continuing to push through in prayer. As Mark put's it Keep Circling!
Books by Mark Batterson:
The Circle Maker
The Circle Maker Enhanced eBook Edition
Praying Circles Around Your Children
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
The Circle Maker Student Edition: dream big, pray hard, think long
ID: The True You
In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day
Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
Chase the Lion Stepping Confidently Into the Unknown