It's hard to prayer for things I want when there seems to be so much more going on in the world. One friend put it this way: "How can I ask God for these little things when there is war, hunger, poverty and disease?"
And yet, over and over we hear about how God cares for each of his children. He wants to hear what our hearts desire, both our wants and our needs. He wants us to pray over our families, our work, our lives. If it is important to us, it's important to Him.
I have heard so many stories of people who were blessed to receive amazing answers to prayers. I have a friend who has, what she terms, "God boots." They are a fantastic pair of burgandy dress boots. She had a music performance coming up and her last pair of good shoes were ruined. She really wanted (not needed, but wanted) something to wear with her outfit. She prayed in faith. Then she got a phone call from a friend later that day saying that she was getting rid of a pair of burgandy size 9 boots, and thought my friend might want them. They went perfectly with the outfit, and were just the right size. Although this is a seemingly mundane prayer request, it was an example of how God even cares about the little things. She is my personal example of the power of prayer.
Recently I also read an example of Jill Savage, founder of the online forum "Hearts at Home." When the fund for a car for their daughter had to be used for emergency house repairs, Jill's daughter put her faith to work in prayer. But she didn't just ask for a car - she thought about the situation and put in three requests: 1) that it be an automatic (she didn't know how to drive standard) 2) that it have 4 doors (to make driving her siblings easier) and 3) if it could, that it be blue (her favourite colour). Jill listened to her daughter's request list, but bit her tongue from commenting right there. Jill understood that at this point any car would be a blessing, and that if her daughter had to learn to drive standard, or the kids had to crawl in and out of a 2-door car, or the car came in lime green, Jill's daughter would come to understand.
A few days later Jill received an email from an acquaintance. He was getting rid of a car. It wasn't much, but it worked and was reliable. In his email he said "it's a Honda Accord, 4-door automatic. And I don't know if it matters or not, but it's blue."
Jill writes that tears filled her eyes, and she whispered to herself "You have no idea how much it matters that it's blue!" Both Jill and her daughter learned a powerful lesson about prayer.
This entry isn't just about relating stories of others. If I am to learn and grow myself, I need to be pushing forward with positive change in my own habits. And I am about to change my habit of prayer.
I have always loved the outdoors, the country, landscapes of trees and rolling hills and rivers and ponds and the millions of shades of green our beautiful country is painted with. I have also always loved century homes, farm houses with big summer kitchens, the feeling of simplicity that remains in these homes built so many years ago in a time when things really were much simpler. As the boys grow, I am hoping to find a perfect little house which I can cultivate into my perfect little home. I long for land where the boys can roam. I long for the fresh colours of trees and flowers. I long for a garden where I can grow so much more of our own food. I long for a little country farmhouse with a big summer kitchen where the boys can hang out at the table while I cook up dinner. I long for acres of silence where I can walk and think and read.
If it were just this, it might not be so hard. That's the dream. The reality is that we need something close enough for James to commute to the city. We want something in this church ward. We want something in this school board so the boys can go to the French Immersion program. We want something no more than 10 minutes from town. We want land that isn't dense forest nor completely cleared (hard to find here!) And we don't want to spend (because we don't have!) a fortune on it. I was amazed that "simple country living" here means spending more than half a million dollars! The problem is that so many of these country lands have large country estates built on them. Me, I just want a humble home with a good size kitchen and a large sitting area.
As I think about the reality of my list, I realize that there is very likely one house out there that is perfect for us. Just one. But I know that my list is not something about living grand - it is about a righteous desire to raise my family in the best environment for us all. For my part, I am going to start living much closer to our monthly budget. We have the blessing of having surplus to our needs, which often means we are freer with our extra spending. But in case the home we want is going to cost much more than I hope, I am going to keep a mental picture of my little home in my mind and stay strict to the budget, allowing us to put much more against the mortgage each year. And while I wait for the right time, I will be content with the home we have now, which truly is perfect for what we need now. And I will work to make my home a little piece of heaven on earth, a haven for my boys, a school of life and a home of love.