When I was about five years old, my mother brought me along on a visit to a farmer’s wife. The old house was rambling and full of interesting things for a child to look at and touch; the woman gave me permission to wander about at will. After a while I suddenly realized that I was alone several rooms away from my mother, and I called out for her. I didn’t need anything in particular – I just wanted the security of knowing that she was there. She appeared almost immediately, not because she expected me to call her, but because her ear was open to my cry. She was busy doing other things, but the second I called for her, she answered.
This earthly experience reflects a heavenly reality that God has repeatedly impressed on me: nothing is too small to bring before the Lord. He hears each call from His children. But He does not only hear – He also answers! And He does so out of fatherly love for His people
A baby is born fully trusting his mother’s care, but I am slow to fully trust my God. So often I am like a child adopted at an older age; slow to fully trust someone else. But God so graciously leads me along in prayer, teaching me to trust and grow in love for Him.
Each stage of my life with its specific answered prayers has increased my trust and my desire to pray. In university, the Lord answered many prayers for quickness of thought while writing exams! When my husband was doing graduate work, the Lord answered my prayers for money to buy our daughter shoes with a lost ten pound note. While we were living in America without insurance and found out that we were expecting, God answered prayers for help not only with a way to cover the delivery, but also postpartum care. While up many times at night with children, He has answered a call for patience with an increased love for the child.
Sometimes the answers are not what I have expected, but they have always been exactly what I needed – of course the omniscient God understands me better than I do myself! When frustrated with another person, God has answered prayers for help with a revelation of my own sin. When we prayed that a move would not be expensive, God allowed the cost to rise, instead giving us a refund on some healthcare. While the children were sick God answered our prayers for healing with weeks of illness but increased patience and trust in His sustaining grace.
Prayer has impacted my life not only in answers, but even more, in an understanding of who God is, how great He is, and how much He cares for little, needy me. Prayer is a means of grace partly because it is in prayer that God repeatedly demonstrates His fatherly love for the people whom He saved. Spurgeon said, “That august mind, out of which all things spring, bows itself to us; and those eternal wings, which cover the universe, also brood over us and our household, and our daily wants and woes”. So often in my life, this reality is evident in God’s answers to my prayers.