You — An Answer to Your Own Prayer
Some might remember memorizing the Lord’s Prayer as a young child. In Matthew’s gospel account, we hear how Jesus invites his disciples to pray:
“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV).
Carol, a young girl growing up in Nebraska, followed Jesus at an early age and knew these words by heart. As a teenager, she worked in her family’s fields with her dad. “We would mow hay — which we then used to feed the cattle in the winter. I would hop on the tractor some days as early as 7:30 a.m. and ride … and ride … and ride. Those days offered quite a bit of time to reflect and pray. As the long hours passed, I remember sometimes wondering what I would like my life to be.”
As she used these stretches of time to ponder what God was doing and to pray — memories of family often floated through her thoughts, memories of answered prayers. One memory was of her father. His family growing up had a car, in a time when all cars were “new,” but it had recently developed a large oil leak. She remembered him sharing that with faithful prayer, not only did the family not have any breakdowns, but they were also able to drive back and forth to the revival at their church for a few weeks. Several weeks later, when that revival was over, her dad had begun to work on their car and found a cracked head in the engine. God had blocked it from leaking for several weeks so they could attend those services. This had a great impact on his faith as well!
Just before Carol’s senior year in high school, Carol’s aunt would leave to be a missionary in Zambia. “I saw my grandmother walk a journey of trust and faith as my aunt shipped her belongings ahead of her and left for Africa. Even then, I think an attention for the world started growing in me.”
Fast forward to the late 1980s to a regional Wesleyan youth conference in Denver where Carol and her husband, Daryle, had taken a group of kids. While sitting in one of the sessions, they heard an invitation to pray for more workers to be sent to the country of Croatia. “This grabbed my heart, and I prayed specifically for this for quite some time.” As their kids were growing up and life moved on, Carol remembers asking God to wake her up to meet with him — and he did most days. Right on time — just about 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. “Your kingdom come” was a phrase that fit often into Carol’s mornings —for her family, friends, and neighbors.
How humbling when God uses you as an answer to your own prayer.
More time passed, but Carol remembers the Lord bringing back to her mind her prayers for Croatia during a very special season. “Our son, Chris, and his family had been living with us as they were on partnership development to be missionaries with Global Partners … to Croatia. Only God! How humbling when God uses you as an answer to your own prayer.”
From when she accepted Christ as a young child, to when she rode that tractor day in and day out, and in the moments of everyday adulthood when she prayed faithfully, assured of God’s love and peace — Carol knew Jesus and his heart for the world.
May we all step into long-haul patterns of prayer that echo “your kingdom come” as we pray for those who haven’t heard that Jesus cares for them — even entire countries who need his hope. And who knows? You may be God’s answer to your prayers!