How to Be Heard in Heaven
by Eddie Smith
Copyright © 2007 - Book Excerpt
Wouldn't it be the best gift ever, if I could present you with a formula that would guarantee that from now on all your prayers would be answered? Nice, perhaps. But I can't. There is no magical prayer or magical form of prayer that God always answers affirmatively. "What about the prayer of Jabez?" some might ask. Well, think about it. If Jabez's prayer were a prayer with a guaranteed answer, Jesus would have instructed His disciples, saying, "Pray the prayer that Jabez prayed." Instead, He taught them to pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven...." Further, if God had to answer our prayers, He would cease to be God. We would be gods, and He would be reduced to focusing on us, receiving our instructions, and serving up what we order. Sadly, if you listen to some people pray, that seems to be what they expect!
Okay, let me be the first to confess....
One day I was praying one of those oft-repeated parental prayers for one of our sons. I don't remember my exact words, but they were something like, "O God, fix my son. He's into this and into that. He needs this, and he needs that. God, how long must I pray before you move in his life?" With that the Holy Spirit abruptly interrupted me. He said, "Eddie, that's not prayer. You're slandering me."
Shocked and befuddled, I said, "Slandering you, Lord? What do you mean, I'm slandering you? You know I'd never do that, Lord."
God continued, "All right, allow me to interpret what you just prayed. First, you obviously think you know your son's needs and although I created him, I don't. Secondly, it sounds as if you feel that you love your son, but I don't. Finally, you seem to be suggesting that if you were me, you'd already have done something, and I haven't. Doesn't that about cover it?"
I had to admit that He was right. After all, He's God! But I was at a loss as to what I should pray. So I waited.
After an uncomfortable moment or two, I heard prayer coming from my heart to His. It was unlike any I'd ever prayed before. It sounded like this.
Father, I thank you for loving me and for hearing my prayers. I praise you for the plan and purpose you have for my son
-for you wrote the days of his life in your book before he was even born. I'm grateful to know that your plans are perfect, and your purposes never change. Thank you for assuring me in Philippians 1:6 that what you have begun in his life you are busy finishing. Thank you for changing his schedule and bringing people into his life that he never expected to meet. Thank you for reminding him of things his mother, Alice, and I have taught him since he was a small child....
From that moment on, Alice and I began praying in a new way for our children. Six months later, our son called Alice and said, "Mother, I know you and Dad have prayed for me all my life. But you've changed the way you pray for me, haven't you?"
She said, "Yes, Son, we have."
He continued, "It's been about six months, hasn't it?"
She acknowledged that it had been exactly six months. "But how do you know that?" she asked.
"Mother, until six months ago, I felt confused in my mind and condemned in my heart. But for the past six months I've felt clear-minded and drawn to God." Since then, we've watched God at work in our son's life, drawing him ever so slowly to himself.
How to Be Heard in Heaven by Eddie Smith
Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764203923
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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