Sitting around the dining room table, my mother unrolled a large roll of bright yellow butcher paper. With a large black marker, she wrote in capital letters PRAYER LIST.
My mother told her ten year-old twins to write down everything we were in need of… which was pretty much everything from toilet paper to food, gas to a car. We asked for food. We asked for clothes. We asked for simple needs.
But mother pushed us to not just ask for what we needed, but what we wanted deep in our hearts.
We wrote down my grandfather’s name and Salvation in parenthesis.
We didn’t just write down a car, we asked for a specific car that we saw on a billboard off the freeway.
We even asked for the dog seated next to the car on the billboard.
At the end of our time together we prayed over what seemed to be like a long list of impossibilities.
Slowly but surely dark lines began to scratch through our requests as they were answered. Neighbors would drop by extra food that they didn’t want to waste, boxes of clothes and bags of food mysteriously appeared on our porch, and we thanked God for His provisions and answered prayer. God didn’t just give us necessities—He gave us our heart’s desire.
We never starved, we never lost the home, and we had clothes on our back. But what’s greater is Grandpa is in heaven, we got the exact car we dreamed of (same color, make, and model), and even though we didn’t get the labrador featured on the billboard, we did end up with a crazy mutt who we loved!
Lately I’ve been feeling like Mister Rogers trying to sell wishes in a bottle.
Buy this book, drink this drink, memorize this scripture and you too can have the life you always wanted!
If anything else I’m sharing hope. Hope that things can change because seasons change, hearts melt, and time heals. In the midst of our trials we knew that prayer changed circumstance. Not that we got what we wanted from prayer but that our hearts changed to accept whatever we were dealing with. Then and now.
Prayer changes things.Leave a Comment
In The Name Of Love » Blog Archive » (in)courage december… says
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Oh prayer is powerful!! Never underestimate it! In fact, it’s so powerful, that when we think “all I can do is pray”, we don’t realize just how much God IS doing when we pray!
Great testimony, Bianca!! Thank you for sharing it.
Lisa H says
Prayer does change everything!
I began talking to one of the women in my church 3 years ago, she is the director of women’s ministry. That was her title then but it has changed over the years. To me she is a wonderful friend, mentor, counselor and sister in Christ! Those will never change! I can tell you that I had no idea how to pray but over time she has taught me so many things about God and his love for me. The thing I find most important that she has taught me is that God will come to where I am at and help me if I ask. The way to ask is through prayer! One evening not long after she and I began talking I was having an incredibly hard day dealing with the struggles I was going through. She offered to meet me in her office at church that evening. I met her in the parking lot and we went into the building that was dark and empty. We sat in her office for a long time talking. Something else I learned–sacrifice–she sacrificed her time with her family that she doesnt have many nights when everyone is home at the same time! After we talked a while she asked did I want her to pray and I said yes. I was on her couch in her office and she was in her desk chair, she wheeled over to me and held both of my hands in hers. She prayed in a way that I have never experienced before! It was specific like your list above, it was emotional, it was raw and it was real. She called Him–Abba–I never knew that name until that night. (She explained later why she called him that that night). For the first time in my life I felt as if I was taken by her hand and we sat at the feet of Jesus together as she talked to him for me! NEVER has that happened before this. But I know He was in that room with us! Over the course of time after this she has taught me things that are life changing ie. setting aside time specifically for me to go to God and sit quietly, pray and listen. She said it may take time to learn to really get quiet and shut out the ‘stuff’ from my brain so I can listen. The day I was able to finally do this I told her all about it–it began with a prayer as I sat alone in a park on a fall day. I journaled, I read Psalm 139 (I remember this as if it just happened) then I read Psalm 145. I listened and after a while something happened in me that was similar to the night in her office. It is just an amazing feeling!
I still have problems letting things go and bringing everything to God in prayer but when I am most distraught over things and feel completely defeated I will shut myself off from others. I give Him all my attention for however long I need to feel like I’ve given it over to God. He always meets me wherever I am at in prayer! And I am learning that it doesn’t just have to be the big stuff I take to God, even the small things he considers important also.
Tamika Torain says
I know prayer changes things in life. Right now I’m prarying for a mercy from God. I feel sad for my children this year I see no why that I will be able to buy them Christmas gifts. I only had enough money to pay my rent. I need God to show up and show out for us this year. I believe he will because in the bible it say ask and you shall receive. Everybody on here pray for me and my family please and thank you.
Tamika Torain says
God does show up and show out. Right now I’m praying for a mercy this Christmas for my children because it looks like we won’t be having it this year no money to buy gifts. But I know God will bless us. Everyone please pray for me and my family.
Southern Gal says
Yes. I know this to be true in my own life. Our hearts change through prayer. When I take my eyes off of me and focus on others, then God removes the obstacles to the answer to my own prayers. Amazing.
Beth Williams says
Wow! What a testimony!!! I often speak of praying for All Things at All Times. I never thought about prayer changing my heart and my focus.
It is good to get the focus off of yourself and on to the needs of the more needy around us.
Robin ~ PENSIEVE says
One of the most challenging lessons I’ve learned through my faith is that God is much more interested in changing me through my circumstances than he is in changing the actual circumstances. Prayer accomplishes that change…and it’s HUGE.
How precious for your mom to make prayer such a concrete thing in your lives; clearly, she’s a very wise woman :).
I struggle with prayer. Sometimes it just doesnt come. Sometimes I have no words. Sometimes I wonder if God can hear me, while many other times I feel Him right beside me. I feel his sweet embrace, his love for me. Yes, prayer is a must for a Christian… without prayer we are without water. We cant really grown. Imagine your child growing up without ever speaking… that wont be good. But as the little one grows up, first words, first sentences, sometimes over and over they say “Mama, mama” until we pay attention, and get down to their level, look them in the eye and ask them what is it that they want. God is like that too. He gets down on the floor with me, where ever I may be, and listens to my words. Yes, prayer is an amazing thing we have.
Bianca, the more I read, the more the wisdom of moms continues to astound me.
What a lesson instilled in a child’s heart, by a mom of faith. We have not because we ask not (James 4:3). Who are we to decide beforehand what God may or may not provide?If we ask, and ask for his will, he might astonish us.
I love how you also remind us that ultimately prayer is still a bending of our will to God’s and not vice versa – but he does like to give gifts. Thank you. This was a gift.
Living the Balanced Life says
It is so true that prayer changes things. It changes US for one thing! And you are right, He actually cares about the desires of our heart. Sure there are some things we don’t get because it is not best for us, but He does listen!
Thank you for reminding me!
I Live in an Antbed says
Our Father longs to have us crawl up in His lap and pour our hearts out to Him. He knows our needs, but He is honored when we lay them before Him. How would we feel if our children were in need and they didn’t bring it to us? He knows that as we reach out and touch His Heart, we are changed. Our contact with Him changes us. He wants us to be completely wrapped in His Arms.
Holley Gerth says
“God didn’t just give us necessities—He gave us our heart’s desire.” Oh, these words, Bianca. Just what I needed this morning. THANK YOU.
Merri Coulter says
Prayer is powerful. But the GOD behind the prayer is even more so.
i love this post!!! I have been a “christian” for a long time…but not until recently really starting to understand that prayer changes things…thanks for sharing…u know i wish your mom would write a parenting book, because she raised some amazing kids…(i’m not kidding either…:))
Bianca! Thank you so much for sharing this story! I routinely need to be reminded of the lavish provision of our Father, and this ministered to my heart in that exact way.
What a great idea for the whole family to share our prayer requests and write them down. I think we just might do that. Thank you 🙂 xoxo
Melissa | Madabella: made beautiful says
i’m in a season of lacking, but God has poured out abundance in unexpected ways. both seen and unseen. i honestly struggle with mistaking God for a genie in the lamp, but i know i need to learn the humility that comes with simply asking…
Thank you for the reminder sweet Bianca 🙂
Angela Mackey says
This reminds me that often God changes our hearts desires as we pray. As you said He bends our will to His not the other way around. So often we can’t see the how or the way that we don’t pray for something. When God is able to do it regardless of us not seeing the way. His perfect plan always astonishes me. Praying through those situations brings hope in the miracles of changed hearts, purified wills, and often the gift of our hearts’ desires.
What a great testimony!
We used to do this in 7th grade, and it really was fun to watch God move. I need to put this back into practice. It’s such a faith builder!
I remember this as if it was just yesterday Bianca. Love, love, love this memory. God is sooooooooooo good. He has given us far more than what we have asked. Love you B!
Oh, amen and amen! I’m ever in wonder at the power of prayer. Not just in the answer, but the how of His answer. But you also touched on a part of prayer that I forget. Sometimes the answer comes as a change of heart that becomes more in line with His!
i JUST wrote down ‘prayer list’ on my 2011 list. 🙂 cant wait.
erin beth says
I love love love stories like this. Its so incredible. It always seemed to me that things like this only happened to other people. I never saw myself as a qualifying participate in miraculous works of God’s hand. But, 2010 was the year God said “Oh yeah, watch how real I am and learn how much I love you.” I wish I’d been writing all the little things like this God has done in a journal to look back on. Maybe I’ll do that this year.
Wow! This was so encouraging for me. It almost made me tear up as I so often share my deepest desires with God. This is a great challenge for me as the new year starts. I want to pray boldly and specifically knowing that HE is so able. Thank you!!!
Mel @ Trailing After God says
Wow, that is an incredible testimony to the power of prayer. Your mother was so smart to teach you that in a tangible way and then God was so merciful in fulfilling your needs and wants. I too have experienced this in HUGE ways. Ways I know came from God and He continues to rock my socks in answers to prayer! Praise God. Thank you for sharing!
Beth West says
Beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement.
Ashley @ One in the SAHM says
Wow – I love this. I’ll be linking up to it tomorrow – thank you so much!
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Ann Voskamp@A Holy Experience says
You have one amazing mama.
Just like her daughter.
And our Father.
Praying with you, friend…
I think it’s great when God answers with a “yes”. And I know He does. But for 16 years He has answered me with a resounding “NO” with most of the things on my prayer list. I’ve been doing this for years, but it’s so discouraging to look back at all the unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Hopefully one day I’ll understand.
Niki Turner says
Beautiful post, Bianca. Thank you for the reminder!
And prayer changes us too. Which is probably the best part.
Thanks for sharing,
Yes, indeed. Thank you for a beautiful post and looking forward to a great 2011!
I agree with Ann V.
This encouraged me 🙂 God is good. And so faithful.
May you be blessed in 2011!
Thanks for posting!
What a wonderful God we have! And what a wonderful Mother you had, the gift she gave to you that day can not be measured- I will be asking for my hearts desire.
Debra Lewis says
Thank you so much….great idea…..
A New Year – Plus One Thousand Gifts Giveaway! says
[…] of the new year, we agreed to begin our year knowing that prayer changes things. Inspired by a post at (in)courage by the same title, I rolled out the big ream of drawing paper. And we all gathered around. Each added their own […]
emmanuel osei says
I have tested and understood that God never change, he s always the same, it doesnt matter how how the circumstances may be ,trials ,temptations and whatever happens he is our stronghold, he ll make a way and see you true,stand on your faith,just believe him alone, and keep on waiting on his right time.Your testimony is on the way. Amen