Have you ever had an answer to a prayer you never prayed?
Happened to me just this week.
In my time as a follower of Jesus – both before being in ministry and after stepping into the pastoral role – I have had numerous conversations about prayer. But, I don’t think any of those ever truly covered the forgotten prayer. I’ve had discussions about unanswered prayers. I’ve heard teachings on how its okay to pray for a good parking spot even though God may not care so much. I’ve heard how the Spirit can take our prayers and translate them into what we need rather than what we want. But, I’ve never really thought about the prayer I forgot to pray and what happens when it gets answered.
Here’s the story. My son was driving his vehicle back to the Tyler, Texas area as he returned to his summer job as a wrangler at a summer camp. He called along the way and said he was having car trouble – a “check engine” light came on and the car was running rough. We told him to call us along the way to be certain he made the trip, then he would need to take the car in to be checked out. He made it, and he took the car into the shop.
The mechanics at the shop ran some tests and came up with a solution that would cost $3,400. Yikes! The vehicle barely cost us that much. So, now we had to make plans to get the vehicle, bring it back to the Houston area where we are and get a second opinion. I made a quick 20 hour turn-around trip and brought the car back. We dropped it off with another shop with whom we had some connection (actually, we bought the vehicle from the shop owner – but that’s not a really relevant point here). This shop looked at the vehicle and determined the problem had a $350 solution. I like $350 more than $3,400.
And so, as I got that news I realized it was the answer to a prayer I forgot to pray. You see, I was working with Jan (my wife) making plans for getting rid of the broken vehicle and getting a new one – new to us, that is. We are blessed to be where we are (thanks be to God for Dave Ramsey), so we were able to calmly think through these options. When I get the news of the second opinion I suddenly realized that I had not asked for such grace. We had the ability to take care of things ourselves, so we were. And then in steps God to offer us a blessing we never asked for – an answer to a forgotten prayer.
I have come to understand this lesson as a reminder that we have a God who loves us. Just because we can take care of things doesn’t mean we have to. Having God answer this prayer is like having someone come to your house and mow your lawn and weed your flowerbeds even when you could do it yourself. It just makes you realize how much you are loved and cared for. It makes you grateful for a blessing you don’t need or deserve.
So, today, which is not Monday (sorry about that, my car trip postponed my blog), I am grateful to God for the answer to a prayer I never thought to pray. I hope I won’t make that mistake again. I would rather pray the prayer so God knows that I know He loves me enough to take care of things I could take care of myself regardless of the eventual outcome.
Are there any prayers you’ve forgotten to pray today? Take a minute and ask God to move in your life. If God will answer some prayers that are forgotten, how much more will God answer the ones we pray?
Holy high-five to you,