For the New Year when I was six, what I wanted above all was to move to the mountains. Over the Christmas holidays my family had visited relatives who lived in a mountainous area, and it was the first time I’d experienced the magic of so much snow. I’d loved every moment of it.
I prayed earnestly for our family’s relocation, starting around Christmas and continuing well into January. At first I was confident that it would take place soon, but it finally became obvious that no move was imminent. I eventually got over the childish fixation, but the question lingered in my mind much longer: Why had God not answered my prayer?
The Lord leaves a lot up to us and our concern and prayer. If we only pray halfheartedly, we only get half an answer. But if we pray with our whole heart, we get a wholehearted, strong answer. Like a beam of light focused on a mirror, a prayer will reflect or be answered with the same intensity that it was prayed.
The game of pocket billiards, or pool, also makes a fitting analogy. There are a number of variations of the game, but all are played on a six-pocket billiard table and have the same basic object: to use a cue ball to knock other balls into the pockets.
From the early-learning wooden or foam variety to intricate 10,000-piece or 3D types, puzzles are a proven way to develop problem-solving skills, as well as a pleasant hobby for all ages.
When I was 11, I became fascinated with jigsaw puzzles. My mother and I would relax together at the kitchen table, piecing together increasingly complex puzzles. We would cover the unfinished puzzle with the tablecloth at mealtimes, then remove it afterward and get to work at finding that next piece.
God’s idea of prayer is not a ritual, but loving and lively communication between a father and his beloved children.
But sad to say, most people don’t think they can talk to God like that. Some think they’re not religious enough, not righteous enough, or not spiritual enough. Some think He’s too big, too far above them. Some think He’s too busy to be concerned about them and their problems, which they think must seem awfully petty to Him. Some feel unworthy, not good enough. Some feel guilty or ashamed about things they’ve done. Some are even afraid of Him. If only they understood how differently God sees it!
The Bible has a lot to say about our thoughts,and it makes an interesting study. For example, it says the Lord’s good thoughts toward us are innumerable, and that we’re supposed to hate vain thoughts (Psalm 40:5; 119:113 KJV).
One of the best ways to put our thoughts to good use is to turn them into prayers. Think of all the things you think about throughout the day—all the things you deliberately think about and all the random thoughts that run through your head. Now size them up and ask yourself what your thoughts are accomplishing. Are you transforming your thoughts into power that will bring about some good?
No matter what your circumstances or how you have handled them up till now, no matter what you have done or not done, I love you. I see your every tear. I hear your every cry for help. I feel your every heartache, your every sorrow, your every frustration, your every worry. I know your every desire. I see straight through to your heart of hearts and all that is in it, and I love you more deeply than you can possibly comprehend.
I see your struggles and I want to help. Life often is a struggle, but it is made so much easier when you spiritually connect with Me. I have all the love and comfort and peace and solutions you seek. I can transform turmoil, emptiness, and disappointment into peace, plenty, and love.
The three women were frantic. Stopped at a petrol station, they were now running back and forth between their car and the cashier, who was inside. When one of the women passed the stand where I was selling books, I asked her if there was anything I could do to help.
“We lost our car keys!” she exclaimed. “We’ve looked everywhere, and they’re gone. We’ll need to find a locksmith and have him make another key.”
If faith no larger than a mustard seed can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20), you figure that your faith must be small indeed, because your prayers seem to go unanswered. That can be disheartening, I know, but it shouldn’t stop you from asking Me for a miracle when you need one.
There are a couple of things you should know about faith: First, it’s not something you can earn or muster up yourself, but it’s a gift from your heavenly Father. Second, like a muscle, faith needs nourishment and exercise to grow. That spiritual nourishment comes from reading and absorbing God’s Word. You exercise your faith by acting on it. So nourish and put your faith to work daily through your prayers and actions.