When Prayer Works, But We Don’t


When Prayer Works, But We Don’t



This morning God answered my prayer.


My wife and I have been praying for a while that we will find a renter for our home in Memphis before we end up in a situation where we’re stuck paying two mortgages. So, every time we pray for a meal, before we go to bed, or even sometimes when we’re just driving in the car we pray that God will sent potential renters our way.

Well, this morning God did just that. As we were just beginning to wake up the phone rang. It was the real estate company calling to see if it was ok for another agent to come by and show the house….right then.

Not in a hour or two, but immediately.

Normally that wouldn’t have been a big problem. However, despite the fact that it is mostly empty, our house was not exactly “show worthy” after a week of loading up the POD for our move. So, we had to say “no” to our potential renters.

In reality, we had to say “no” to God’s answer to our prayers because even though God had answered our prayers, we weren’t ready to respond.

Granted, this isn’t a major answer to prayer (although it is very important to us), but I think a lot of times we just sit around waiting for God to magically answer our prayers, but then when those prayers finally do get answered we’re not prepared to accept God’s miracle.

In my case, we might have finally had someone rent our house today, but we weren’t prepared for God’s little miracle. So, our prayers couldn’t be answered.

In other words, our prayers “worked”, but we didn’t do the necessary work on our end to prepare for what would happen when God actually did answer our prayers.

I think for a lot of us prayer is like a magic lamp and God is the genie hidden within. If we say enough prayers, or rub the lamp hard enough, then God will pop out of make everything magically better in an instant.

But prayer almost never works that way.

Most of the time God answers our prayers by opening a door for us to walk through. But if, like I was this morning, we’re still laying in bed in our pajamas when God comes to answer our prayers, then those prayers won’t be able to be answered because we’re not ready to walk through the proverbial door….or hole in the ceiling.

Do you remember the story in Mark 2 about Jesus healing a paralyzed man? Jesus had gone into Capernum to preach. Not surprisingly, the house where he was preaching quickly filled up and was busting at the seams with people, so much so that no one else could get in. This was huge problem for a paralyzed man who heard Jesus was coming to town and had come to the house hoping to be healed.

But a packed house wasn’t the end of the story because the man was prepared for God to answer his prayers.

Being paralyzed, the man had several friends help him get to the house that day. Once they arrived, they saw very quickly that there was no way to get their friend to Jesus, but apparently they were prepared to do whatever it took to get their friend’s prayers answered. I say “apparently” because once they saw they crowd they pulled their friend up onto the roof the house (I assume with rope) and then cut a hole in the roof of the house (I assume with some sort of saw) in order to lower their friend down to Jesus.

Now, unless these guys were first century MacGyvers, then I have to think that they brought the rope and saw with them or, at the very least, they had strategized ahead of time and knew what they might need to scavenge together in order to get their friend his miracle. In other words, they were prepared for God to answer their prayer.

And that is exactly what happened.

Mark says, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” The paralyzed man experienced a miracle that day because he was ready to walk out the door on his own, before God ever answered his prayers.

This is the sort of faith and preparation we need to have when we pray.

Our needs may be great, and the only solution may be a miracle, but if we are going to take the time to pray to God for help, then we should do so believing that God will answer us, even as we do everything we can to make that miracle happen.

While today was certainly a lesson for me in home ownership, even more so it was a reminder that if I really want God to answer my prayers, then I need to do everything I can to be prepared for them to be answered. Otherwise, I’m living as if I don’t really except them to actually be answered and then if they are, I won’t be ready to accept God’s miracle.

So be prepared for God to answer your prayers because you never know when the answer might come.


Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt