As I was walking one day, I saw a boy and his father playing together in a field, throwing a ball back and forth. At one point, the father held the ball up and motioned to the far end of the field.
“Go long, son!” he said.
Prayer shows your faith in Me—faith that I will bring the solutions, show you the way, work in people’s lives, and even do the impossible when necessary. It also shows that you are depending on Me, and this pleases Me greatly.
Four friends sit around the kitchen island. Each of us has jobs, schedules, responsibilities that pull us in different directions, and it isn’t often that we have the opportunity to hang out together. But on this evening we sit together and share life.
On my second day on the job, my new supervisor handed me his laptop: “I need you to upgrade this to the latest Web-based operating system.”
I was in a foreign country, surrounded by coworkers speaking a foreign language, and as a junior IT technician, I was finding it challenging to familiarize myself with the new work environment, understand foreign technical terms, and handle the inevitable problems that exceeded my level of experience.
Have you ever wondered why it seems that some prayers aren’t answered? Have you even ever, like me, wondered why it seems that it’s your prayers, specifically, that aren’t answered?
Having been a believer all my life, I’ve prayed for many, many things, and I’ve also often experienced the disappointment of my prayers not being answered—at least, not in the way that I’d expected or hoped.
I wasn’t born a citizen of the United States of America. Earning the right to be here was a process. I had to fill out piles of forms, spend hours on the phone with officials, pay a hefty sum, get fingerprinted, and have an interview to determine if I indeed met the requirements to earn residency. And, yay, I did! That was a happy day!
The cares of this life and its many burdens and worries can easily distract you from your close fellowship with Me, and fear of failure can cloud your ability to look to Me and have faith that I hear your prayers and love you and want to bless you. I want to raise you up from your burdens and give you a new start. I want to make you a testimony and a witness of My love.
Some years ago, after a series of mistakes left me exasperated and discouraged, I pleaded with God to turn me into a robot, programmed to always do what He knew was best. You know that deep down I want nothing more than to do what’s right, but my wrong decisions and harebrained ideas keep getting in the way! Can’t You reprogram me to always make the right choice and do the right thing? Think how much better off Your world would be!
Stress relief has become a multifaceted, multi-billion-dollar industry. Armies of experts have emerged, dispensing advice of every sort. Some say the key is better time management—reduce stress by doing a better job of juggling everything we need to do. Others say the key is patience—be ambitious, but focus on less daunting short- and mid-range goals. Others tell us to reexamine our priorities from the quality-of-life angle and major on the things that count most. Still others take a more spiritual approach: Relieve stress through yoga, meditation, or other disciplines. Who are we to believe?
I thought I had my life together. I had a loving husband, four wonderful children, and a fulfilling life as an aid worker. We had moved to Indonesia to work with a sheltered workshop for disabled children under the sponsorship of the International Council on Social Welfare and were truly enjoying our experiences.
However, after the birth of my fifth child, things took a different turn. I began struggling with nightmares and depression that overshadowed every aspect of my life. Then my marriage fell apart.