I learned some things about answered prayer from two Hondas and three friends. It started with a 2002 Honda Odyssey. I really wanted my minivan to make it to 300,000 miles. I babied her, took her to my mechanic faithfully, and beamed at the progressing odometer. It’s not so much because I was attached to her, I just don’t like a car payment.
When the oil puddles started growing, I finally decided to pray about a new car. You see, I have prayer issues. For some reason, I don’t share the desires of my heart with God. My reasoning is twisted: if I don’t say it out loud, I can keep it hidden from Him. A new car seemed like such a selfish thing to want so I just didn’t talk about it.
God already knew.
He knew the worry that crept up every time I saw the dark oil stains as I backed out of the driveway. He knew the frustration I felt when I couldn’t turn the radio volume up or down. I am sure He remembers how sad I was nine years ago when I first sat behind the wheel of this beast and felt old.
I realized that I couldn’t keep the desires of my heart hidden from the One who knows me so intimately. So I prayed about a new car. My friend Brooke asks God for specifics so I gave it a try. My prayer journal reads:
I would like to donate our van and get a new-to-me car. I would like a Pilot. I want to do all of this without going into debt.
I felt like a brat asking Papa for a new toy. But I knew I couldn’t hide it any longer.
Two weeks later, at 276,698 miles, the minivan died an honorable death. We knew the repair to stop the leaks would exceed her value. The final blow came the morning I pulled out of the driveway and couldn’t turn the steering wheel. I was a little worried, but I had a peace that God would guide and provide.
The day she died, we had a date night planned. We dropped the kids off at a friend’s house. We told Nes and Eve about our dilemma. We had to buy a car, but finding one we wanted and could afford would be tricky. Our friends called us back the next day and offered to sell us their extra car. It helped them by providing extra cash, and it most certainly helped us. When I told Brooke about their offer, she said Eve came to her mind every time she prayed for us (insert chills!).
Guess what kind of car it is? Yep. A Honda Pilot. And guess how much they asked for it? Yep. The exact amount we had to spend. They didn’t hear my prayer, but God did!
When it came time to let go of my faithful minivan, it was tempting to sell it for the little it was worth in order to restore some order to our savings account. I remembered my prayer that started, “I would like to donate our van.” God was faithful to give me the exact car from my prayer for the exact amount of money we budgeted. How could we do anything but continue to be a part of this miracle? We called a local organization that uses donated cars to give men a fresh start through mechanic training. I know, somewhere down the line, someone else’s prayers are being answered.
Here are five breakthrough insights from two Hondas, three friends, and one astonishing answered prayer
There is no need to try to hide what God already sees in my heart. He knows the desires of my heart. I saw it as metaphorically sitting on Santa’s knee, giving him my wish list. Not even close. Prayer is an intimate exchange of thoughts between my heart and God’s.
I will not see the answered prayer until I pray the prayer. God works all around me every day. When I pray for specific things, I can clearly see His hand at work. If I fail to pray, I will be blind to the miracles I encounter.
Pray with specificity so you know it’s God when you see it. Mark Batterson says it best in his book, The Circle Maker:
When imagination is sacrificed on the altar of logic, God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him. In fact, the death of a dream is often a subtle form of idolatry. We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help. We go after dreams that don’t require divine intervention.
Allow God to use you to be an answer to someone else’s prayer. There is a mama somewhere praying for the son who has his head stuck under the hood of my minivan. There is a family somewhere praying for a minivan they can afford. What seems like a small sacrifice for us can be a huge blessing to someone else.
Even if He doesn’t give me the desires of my heart, He is still a good God. My prayer for a new car wasn’t the only prayer I prayed that morning. I asked God for a lot of things. The only clear “yes” I received was the car. His silence on the other issues doesn’t discourage me. I know He is a good Father who loves to give His children good gifts (Luke 11:13).
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