God hears us!

 
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If I could give you advice, it would be this…

Don’t ever stop praying!!

When I was 11 years old, we moved from Indiana to Missouri.  We moved into a house on a hill, and at the bottom of that hill was a boy that would end up the next best thing to a brother that I would ever know.  My older brother, who I was very close to, was starting his senior year and was very involved in school. He continued on to college, and that led to marriage and moving away.  I was the youngest of my family and affectionately called myself the "straggler" because my older siblings were long gone before I was a teenager.  So I would go down and play football, basketball, and any other sport that my neighborhood friends would let me play with them. They were all guys that I ended up going to Middle and High School with. But there was a very special friendship with my neighbor. We would have our annual bottle rocket wars over the small woods that spanned between our properties. He would give me rides to and from school if I didn't have a car available.  When he got a dirt bike, he said I could come down any time and ride it - which I did.  We were inseparable.

He was not raised in church, though, and wasn't a christian.  The moment I found that out, I started praying for him. As the years went on, it seemed that there was less and less of a chance of him ever even believing in God.  By the time we graduated from high school, he went off to the Coast Guard Academy and I went off to Bible School to become a missionary.  From time to time, I would feel the urge from God to pray for him.  Probably at least once a week.  But after time went on, it wasn't quite as often. I eventually met my husband, got married, and we started our family and ministry. Periodically I would think of my neighbor and pray for him.  Since I knew he wanted proof of God, I prayed God would give him proof.  It was fun to tell my family stories of my neighbor and all the things we did growing up. 

About 20 years ago, there was a three-day span of time that I just could not get him out of my mind.  I felt a strong urging to pray for him. So for three days I don't know if there was an hour that went by that I wasn't praying for him.  Then everything cleared.  I didn't need to pray for him so urgently anymore. A few months later after reconnecting with him over email, I asked him if there was a reason why I felt so strongly to pray for him? He immediately thought it was crazy that I knew to pray since he was in a very scary situation. He was a police officer at the time, and someone had pulled a gun on him. He thought quickly, grabbing the barrel, and pushing it away from him. The bullet went through his hand, instead of what would have been a fatal situation. I was so glad I had listened to the Voice of God and prayed. Even after telling him about my urgency to pray for him, I'm not sure it was enough. He continued walking the path he had always walked...but I never stopped praying.

A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from him letting me know that he had gone to church on Easter and Mother's Day with his girlfriend and her parents.  Two weeks later, he messaged me asking, "Does God give you signs?  Does He actually speak to you?".  The next week was peppered with questions about Bible reading, prayer, and baptism.  It was a surreal day, about one week ago, I pulled up Facebook and saw that he posted his public testimony! He shared that he had asked forgiveness, and turned his life over to Jesus Christ. It was the answer to prayer, that I had prayed for 41 years.  

I tell you this story to encourage you:  Don't. Ever. Stop. Praying.  God hears you.  He is moving.  His timing is not your timing. 

God is putting all things in perfect order for that moment of answered prayer.  Whether it is healing, salvation, deliverance, finances, or whatever you may be praying for...don't ever stop praying.  I am reminded of a story in the Old Testament about the prophet Daniel.  He prayed and mourned for three weeks, but it didn't seem like his prayers were being answered or even that God was hearing his prayers. Finally an angel appeared to him and told him that for those three weeks, he had been trying to get the answer to him, but spiritual forces were keeping him from it. If you are praying for something, don't stop. If it seems that the answer is being delayed, don't stop. If you begin to have doubt in your heart, don't stop. If the Enemy tries to make you fearful that God doesn't hear you or that He is not going to answer you, don't stop. If what you are praying for seems impossible to you, don't stop!  Because NOTHING is impossible with God!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:  "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  The song, “While You Wait” by Billy and Sarah Gaines, from my college years has always encouraged me, and helped me keep praying: “So while you wait on Him, rejoice and trust in Him, the answer's on the way! Though you may have to wait, He'll never be too late, so praise Him while you wait!”

While you continue praying, remember to REJOICE and GIVE THANKS, trusting that God hears you and is working on your behalf to get the answer on the way to you!!  

In the meantime:  Don't. Ever. Stop. Praying.

Rachel Harvey | Prayer & Worship Team


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Melissa East