Text by Henrylito D. Tacio
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Does God still answer our prayers? To answer this timely question, allow me to share the story below send to me by a friend via e-mail:
At one time, Edward attended a Wednesday Bible study one late afternoon. The leader shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. Edward couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people today?”
After the Bible study, Edward went out with some friends for coffee and pie, and they discussed what the group had just studied. Each one of them talked about how God had led them in different ways. But Edward was still questioning whether God still answered prayers.
It was about seven o’clock at night when Edward started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God, if you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.”
As he drove down the main street of his city, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply and started on toward home.
But again, the thought of buying a gallon of milk came into his mind. Edward thought about Samuel and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.”
It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed a not-so-busy street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street.”
This is crazy, he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down that not-so-busy street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down that street. Half-jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will.”
He drove several blocks when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of the city. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed, and most of the houses looked dark, like the people were already in bed.
Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” Edward looked at the house. It was dark, and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.
“Lord, this is insane,” Edward said. “Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.”
Edward walked across the street and knocked on the door. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then, the door opened before Edward could get away.
The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face, and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. “What is it?” the man inquired.
Edward thrust out the gallon of milk, “Here, I brought this to you.” The man took the milk and went to the bedroom. Edward then saw a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her, holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face.
The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.”
The wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an angel?” Edward reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him, and put it in the man’s hand. He turned and walked back toward his car, and the tears were streaming down his face.
Now, he knew that God still answers prayers.
Prayer is the gymnasium of the soul, says Samuel M. Zwemer. George Buttrick believes: Prayer is not a substitute for work, thinking, watching, suffering, or giving; prayer is a support for all other efforts.
“Prayer is more than verbally filling in some requisition blanks,” Billy Graham states. “It’s fellowship with God! It’s communion with the Lord through praising Him, rehearsing His promises, and then sharing our needs.”
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, one of America’s most influential inspiration authors, once sat with Madame Chiang Kai-shek. He listened to her attentively as she recounted the dangers of her life in China. Marveling at her undefeatable spirit, Dr. Peale asked how she managed to retain composure and hope throughout such a difficult ordeal. “It is the time I spend each morning with the Lord,” she replied.
Dr. Peale was very curious. So, he asked her how much time daily she spent in prayer, and she told him, “it seemed to be from one to two hours every day.”
“The most effective way to make use of the power of prayer is simply to pray,” Dr. Peale wrote in his book. “Reading about prayer, discussing about prayer, hearing about prayer will bring few results unless you actually pray. To use the power of prayer, pray; pray in depth and pray without ceasing.”
Father James Reuter, S.J. thought so too. He was an American Jesuit Catholic priest who lived in the Philippines since he was 22 and taught at Ateneo de Manila. When he was still alive, he believed that what the Philippines needs is prayer.
Prayer is “the only hope for the Philippines,” Fr. Reuter said in an e-mail circulated by those who received it. “It’s time to gather God’s people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation,” he explained.
But the question is: Is prayer really the answer to what is happening to our country today?
Some actual events from history proved that it might be the solution we are looking for. England’s ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fueled by intense prayers. The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today – a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life.
South Korea has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering. Thanks to Reverend Paul Yongi Cho, who led the revival and prayer movement which swept across the country.
Father Reuter urged: “If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land. By God’s grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. God bless and God save our country!”
God promises: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).