More exciting than getting what you ask for from God is just knowing He listens to you!
In the summer of 1991 I was enjoying my first full year of Literature Evangelism, as I was selling books all over Oklahoma and even the surrounding states. So far I was leading my conference in sales and hours worked. However, around Oklahoma camp meeting time, I hit a slump. I mean a real slump. Three weeks without a single sale! Suddenly my perspective changed. I started doubting my calling. Earlier, I had read in Colporteur Ministry that this work was second to none.1
Not wanting to doubt the spirit of prophecy I began to rationalize. Maybe it was a great work back before radio and satellite TV. In 1991 I had yet to hear of the Internet, but I figured TV and radio were getting the word out now. So maybe the literature work was obsolete.
I had a lead card for a Baptist grade school near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, around 50 miles from where I lived in Tulsa at the time. I set up an appointment and set out to Eastern Oklahoma. On my way I began to pray. I remember the exact words I prayed. “Lord if this is still an important work for this time, please let me know.” I drove across the hills and curves of Highway 51 while my mind wandered from my prayer.
I arrived at the little school and met the principal in his office. He liked the books and ordered them! My first sale in three weeks! As I was writing up the order, he was writing out the check. As he wrote, he paused, looked at me and said, “This is an important work you are doing.” I looked up from my order form and smiled, but I was not thinking of my prayer, until he paused again, and said, “And you know, especially for this time.” That’s when it dawned on me! Wow! He repeated back to me the exact same words I had prayed in my mind alone in my car!
I drove back to Tulsa very excited, not just about a sale or even that my prayer was answered, but just the fact that I knew in my heart God heard me! He heard me and repeated back to me the very words I had prayed to Him.
This was not the first time this happened. Earlier, I had been praying for the Lord to work on the heart of a friend who stopped attending church. Every night I would pray alone in my apartment, “Lord please send your Holy Spirit to work on Jill’s heart.” After a few weeks, Jill called me out of the blue, and I met her at a restaurant. During dinner she said, “I have something to say, but you may think it’s funny.” I assured her, that she could tell me, and I would not laugh. She then told me, “I feel like the Holy Spirit has been working on my heart.” Wow! Jill was repeating back to me the exact same words of my prayer!
That was over 20 years ago, and since then God has answered even more remarkable prayers. I hope to share more of these some day. Each time, what amazes me is just the fact that I know the Creator and King of the universe is listening to my prayer! He does not merely hear me; He listens to me.
Friend, He does the same for you. Here is one of my favorite quotes on prayer, found on page 100 of Steps to Christ:
Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. “The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.