“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.” Amy Carmichael, missionary, (1867-1951)
I’m a firm believer in praying specific prayers. After all, anything worth putting before God shouldn’t be done in a trite way of “God bless so-and-so. Amen.” However, it’s one thing to pray specifically, it’s another to pray with an answer attached.
I’m re-reading Amy Carmichael’s biography “A Chance to Die.” A gift from my mom, I read it the first time almost ten years ago. Beautifully written by missionary Elisabeth Elliot, the biography sheds light on Amy’s early life and the 55 years she spent in India as a missionary without a furlough home. Of Irish descent, Amy learned early in her life about prayer as illustrated in this excerpt:
“Taught by her mother that God was a hearer and an answerer of prayer, One who could change water into wine, she [Amy] determined to test His powers. Kneeling by her bed that night she asked for the one thing she most passionately longed for: blue eyes. Surely there would be no difficulty for the Lord in this. The little girl went to bed with perfect confidence. She jumped out of bed at dawn, pushed a chair to the chest of drawers, climbed up and looked in the mirror—into the same brown eyes. She never forgot the bewilderment she felt until, somehow, an explanation was given (did the Lord Himself speak to her, or did someone else?): Isn’t NO an answer? So prayer was not magic. Like her earthly father who loved her, her heavenly Father might also say no.” (A Chance to Die)
This poignant story is heartwarming as we each see our own children (or maybe imagine ourselves as children) praying naïve prayers. But let’s be honest. We often do the same thing as adults. We don’t stop at praying the specific prayer. We then give God the answer we want in return.
As a small child, Amy only knew that her Irish siblings and many around her had blue eyes, and she did not. It seemed a travesty to her. She couldn’t have known she’d spend most of her life in India, amongst brown-eyed people, and how imperative it was she blend in. She often dyed her skin with coffee and covered her head to move about in unsavory places to do God’s work. Her missionary worked turned into rescuing children from temple prostitution and establishing a safe haven for them, the Dohnavur Fellowship. At the time of her death, Amy had rescued over a thousand children.
Like Amy, we often pray too specifically such that an answer is wrapped up in our petitions.
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34
With our own limited view of the world and with no knowledge of the future, we are often hesitant to step out on faith and say, “God, no matter what the answer might be, I accept it.”
Not really, when you consider that God knows our future, wants the best for us, and has designed us for a specific purpose. We only have to trust Him to get it right.
If you have a prayer request you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section or email me confidential requests. Here are the new requests for this week:
· Today, Courtney is en route to Duke for her two-month follow-up brain MRI. She has had three clear reports since last summer. Please keep her in your prayers as she battles brain cancer and anxiety. For those of you who do not know her story, please click on the prayer list at the top of the blog for more info.
· Linda and Stephen’s marriage is at a crossroads right now. Please pray that they’ll seek God’s guidance in their decisions.
· Matthew is having mental health issues and is living an unhealthy lifestyle. Pray that God will give his family wisdom and strength as they seek answers, and that Matthew will get help for his problems.
© Laura Hodges Poole
Photo courtesy of Microsoft.com free clip art