Monday, September 10, 2012

Does God answer Prayer?

Anyone who has ever read the Bible knows the stories.  Stories of people who have prayed, and then God miraculously answered them! 

You be the judge.  I'm not going to tell you that I have the answer.  I'm not going to quote a lot of Scripture or divulge theology or claim to have received great revelation.  What I am going to do is share a story with you.  Then YOU DECIDE.  If this story touches you in some way, any way - positive or negative, I ask you to please share it - share it on your Facebook pages, in your Twitter tweets, via email, post it wherever you chose, say what you want about it.  I'm just going to share with you what has happened in the last 8 months of my life.
In January 2012  after being gone for 2 years, we returned to our "home base".  My honorary Aunt was dieing of cancer.  She was not yet 70.  We had come home to help her "go home to Heaven" or to share in the miracle of her healing, whichever it was to be.  We are what you would call "believers".  We dare to believe that GOD IS.  We dare to believe that He not only made Himself known to us through a book we all commonly know as "The Bible", but we dare to believe that He still speaks to His people today.  Some will cheer us for this, and some will call us fools. 
I prayed, and God graciously prepared me for what was to come.  In my deepest heart, I heard a still, small voice tell me Aunt would not be healed, but would be going Home to Jesus.  Yes, you can disbelieve me at this point, but it won't change the truth, that this is what happened, and there are those I told at the time, and they know the truth. 
It was at this point I began to pray differently.  Instead of focusing on prayer for my Aunt, who was going to a place that is wonderful and beautiful, so there is no sorrow in that, I began to ask God WHY He had brought us back home?  We soon had answer to that prayer.  There were actually several reasons.  I will share them all.  Some are a bit personal and even a little bit embarrassing, but if it inspires ONE PERSON to trust in the Lord, then it will be worth a moments embassassment to me.
First, it became apparent that my youngest son was once more involved in drug use.  He was living on the street, barely surviving.  Everything I had done in the past - putting him in a Residential Rehab Center, taking him to counselor after counselor and applying every one of all the "tough love" techniques that exist, not to mention all the prayers that had been prayed appeared to be one big FAILURE.  In fact, though I prayed time and again and told God I was giving my son to Him, the truth is I had constantly "rescued" my child, time and time again, enabling him to continue in the very things that were destroying his life!  What kind of parent was I?  WHAT KIND OF MINISTER WAS I?!? 
That still small voice spoke to my heart.  "Treat him like you would ANY young person from off the street that you are trying to help.  Stop acting like he's YOUR SON - treat him like he's MINE".  We prayed again - but very differently this time.  No selfish motive involved.  Just a cry from the heart for God to intervene.  AND HE DID.  There's still a way to go - but the path is now clear for real healing, real deliverance, real change and an HONEST RELATIONSHIP between us!
In the very midst of these events, my mother in law was rushed to the hospital where we were informed she had a perforated colon.  Surgery was one alternative, but she was already so weak physically, it was very unlikely she would survive.  She choose - NO SURGERY.  When questioned, she told her oldest son she wanted to go home to be with Jesus.  10 days after my dear Mentor and honorary Aunt passed over into Eternity, we said goodbye to my sweet mother in law.  Several days before she passed, I received a phone call from my brother.  My own mother had been rushed to the hospital in another state, and was hemoraging!  WE PRAYED.  After 2 days in the hospital, on the day we laid my mother in law to rest, my mother was released from the hospital!  Answer to prayer? 
2 years previously, she was miraculously healed of gangrene in her leg.  And she loves to tell EVERYONE about it!  We had prayed for God to provide "a place of refuge" for her, for she had lost everything in hurricanes and had no home of her own any longer.  Out of NOWHERE, she was offered a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home in a retirement community AT NO COST!  The lot fee's were higher than she could afford.  So we paid them for her.    However, we were limited, and began to pray for a roommate to share the home with her.  ON THE EXACT SAME AFTERNOON OF THE MORNING WE KNEW WE WERE NO LONGER ABLE TO PROVIDE HELP SHE RECEIVED A PHONE CALL - AND NOW HAS THE SWEETEST, KINDEST ROOMMATE WE COULD EVER IMAGINE.
Just as it seemed we might be gaining a little equilibrium in our emotional world, another phone call, another emergency.  Mom was in emergency surgery - with a perforated colon!  Have you ever cried out of sheer frustration and just wanted to give up?  I have.  I did that day.  I anxiously waited by the phone.  Mom came through surgery - it looked like maybe she would be okay.  Then another call from my brother.  I'd better come, it didn't look like she was going to make it.  Another son arranged a plane ticket for me.  Mom was having serious breathing problems and was semi-comatose.  I spent 6 1/2 of my 7 days there watching her sleep, counting her every breath.  Why was this such a BIG DEAL? 
Prior to this, for the majority of my life, I had very little contact with my mother.  In fact, she avoided me for the most part.  I'd grown up in an alcoholic and abusive household, horrid step fathers, with a mom who was practicing witchcraft - fighting a daughter who loved God.  We had no relationship for most of my adult life - until the day she asked me a question.  I hadn't seen her for YEARS!  She was attending her 50th high school reunion, which happened to be in the town where I was living at the time.  Guilt or obligation - I'll never know which, compelled her to call and tell me she was in town.  I meant to say, "thats nice" but what came out was "would you like to have breakfast with me?"  She said yes.  God - that still small voice, instructed me to share the Gospel with her.  Everything in me thought BIG MISTAKE.  She'll just run from me more.  I am happy to tell you that I listened.  I listened, because I had spent 30 years praying for her salvation.  So I shared the Gospel.  She was very quiet.  As I drove her home, she was very quiet.  Then she said it.  Asked me this question- "if I ask you a question will you tell me the truth?"  I had no idea what her question might be, but I passionately agreed, no matter what the question, I would tell her the truth.  "Is Heaven real?"  this was her question!  Years before, when I had visited her and FORCED her to "pray a sinners prayer" with me - I knew she hadn't meant it.  But this - SHE MEANT IT!!  To give the details would take a book - which I'll write one day.  TRUST me - there was SO MUCH in this question!  All our estrangement - all our fights, all our disagreements, all her reluctance to have a relationship with me - caused by this difference.  I believed in God and heaven - took it all very seriously - and she resented that I constantly pushed it on my family everytime I saw them!  And now - SHE WAS ASKING!
This time, she accepted Christ as her Savior and it was REAL!   Over these previous 2 years, we'd gotten to actually know each other!  We laughed and cried together, and in 2 years I felt like God had made up for the previous 30+ that we'd lost.  But 2 years was NOT enough time!  Was she really going Home, now???  I prayed, and that still small voice was clear.  "Her Homecoming is not yet.  There's healing to be done in the rest of your family."  Really??? I'd been praying for them, everyone of them for YEARS and I have to tell the truth, I'd given up on anything ever changing.  Then it did change.  Not only the brother who was "obligated" to call me, since he was there with Mom, began to open up, but then ANOTHER brother called me - WITH TEARS - and invited us to come visit him and renew relationship!  That might not seem like a big deal to some people, but for me??? THESE WERE ANSWERS TO PRAYERS I'D BEEN PRAYING FOR OVER 30 YEARS!
There's a LOT more to this story - and one day, I WILL sit down and write out all the details so my God, my Father in Heaven, my Savior Jesus will be glorified at the testimony of JOY He has given to me, just a little bitty cog in His great big world.  But this little piece, I just had to share right now.  Maybe it will inspire someone else to open their heart to God.
Answers to prayers?  You decide.  I say, LIVE DELIBERATELY & INSPIRE OTHERS!
May the Lord Himself speak into YOUR heart and show you His Truth, in Jesus name!
thanks for sharing my short story with others, even if you choose NOT to believe it!

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