There’s been more than one occasion this week when deep, conversational prayers — at times for an urgent need — have been needed this week, if not for our own family but for others as well.

This has been a pretty wild, up-and-down-and-twisted-around week in a wide variety of ways.  Yeah, it’s been one of those “rollercoaster weeks,” even containing at least one complete “rollercoaster day,” that seemed to last from beginning to end.

What a ride!  And we’ve survived.

It’s those “conversational” prayers that seem to “pay off” the most.  I’ve gotten pretty good at those through the years, starting as early as the age of 8 years old for me when I looked out my bedroom window and looked up at the steeple of the Catholic Church across the street and just had a “conversation” for a suddenly very bad situation to change very quickly.  And it did.

I had the same type of prayer back in 1989 when I felt the need over a period of 1-2 hours to ask for someone to share the rest of my life with because I was tired of being alone.  That prayer was answered, in a glorious way.  It took a little time, but when that time was right … wow!

I had that same type of prayer just over seven months ago now, when I felt my family’s future security was being threatened, and the prayer lasted for a solid two hours.  And I’ve basically been continuing that pattern — either out loud or in my mind — ever since then, even if the prayers aren’t as long as two hours and no matter what I’m doing (driving a car, walking around somewhere, you name it).  They’ve especially become more frequent and more heartfelt since the time I actually did lose my job and my family’s financial and personal security was threatened just over five months ago this week.

Yeah, it’s been a wild and “crazy” ride ever since then.  Even now, though, I feel like all those prayers through all these weeks and months are being answered, on a daily basis.  Even though there might be times when even family members might think I’m crazy or my wife is crazy, we’re hanging tough to a promise and our needs are somehow being met.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing that’s helped to carry me through in these past three months or so and given me a very different outlook on things has been the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.  It’s a life-changing book a good church friend who I’d been sharing my deepest feelings and emotions with one day late last year told me she’d been reading, and I’d wanted to find it and read it myself as soon as she told me about it.

Just weeks later, I went to a Christmas lunch for “staff members” or other volunteer leaders (like me) of my church.  Everyone was given a gift.  The gift was a copy of the book “Crazy Love.”  I don’t consider that a coincidence in my case.

In that book, Francis Chan talks exactly about the kind of prayer that I’m writing about.  I’ll let him tell you about it in his own words.

There are a few things I’ve found about prayers through education and my own personal experience.

  • There are a few possible answers to those prayers:  “yes,” “no,” or “not now, just wait.”  I’ve even felt an answer to a prayer that said, quite simply and “crazily,” one other word.  “Relax!”  Right now, I think we’re more in a “just wait” mode when it comes to my own family’s future.  At times, that’s the hardest thing for me and my family to be patient with sometimes.  But I feel like I’m moving toward a goal that’s been set FOR me, not BY me.
  • You HAVE to ask for what you need.  You HAVE to ask for any burdens to be lifted off of your shoulders.  And I’ve personally gone through the wonderful feeling of that “lifting.”  It’s an awesome experience.  It was after a two-hour conversational prayer.
  • Prayers are not answered on your own personal schedule.  There’s a design in those answers.  Patience and trust are required.  There may still be times when we can feel impatient, and it’s at those moments in time when it might not hurt to ask for forgiveness for that impatience, for any lack of “trust.”
  • The answers can sometimes be a mystery.  But if you hang in there, the mystery clears up and more vivid answers are given if you open your mind and your heart wide open to them.

I really believe these things.  As long as I’m having these conversational prayers, pretty much on a daily basis, I feel the signs that are given to me to show that — in this rollercoaster ride called life — I’m on the right track, and things will get better.  All I have to do is hold on to that belief.

That’s all you can do when there’s nothing left to lose.

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3 thoughts on “When there’s nothing left to lose …

  1. Prayer is a powerful thing, indeed.
    You said, “Prayers are not answered on your own personal schedule. There’s a design in those answers.”
    To your point, recently I had a job offer presented to me. In my many prayers about getting that next new job, I was very clear and asked specifically for what I wanted, in detail. As it was presented, it seemed like it was the perfect job for me since most of the things I asked for were there and the timing was good – I was ready to get back to work! But, something wasn’t right – the pay was very low. I admit I was tempted to take it because of money concerns. That voice inside kept telling me, “Wait. Be patient. Stand your ground.” So, I did. It wasn’t about pride, it was about value. I trusted that other opportunities would be made available if I knew my own value.
    I’m glad I waited because it turned out the voice was right – this was not the job for me for many reasons, most didn’t reveal themselves until after the fact. I won the respect of the people involved because I had integrity and trusted that my path would be revealed. It’s often a quiet and subtle lifting that takes us to the next level.
    Thank you for sharing this book, John, and your experiences. I hope next week is better than your last.

    1. That’s interesting, Deb. Early in my job search, I had a job interview at a place that would have been a perfect spot not only to work with a computer language and being a resident “guru” in that language for others, along with needing to travel to the San Fran-Oakland area frequently at the start to gather “user requirements,” but to learn a newer and more-in-demand language for the future in the process. I was the last person interviewed (according to the consulting company that was trying to place me), my qualifications and more recent experience seemed to put me ahead of the competition, and I NAILED the interview. I, too, thought the job was mine. But the company needing the “guru” apparently hired someone else, away from the consulting firm I was going through … it just wasn’t meant to be for me in that spot.

      I’ve seen potential doors open and close in mysterious ways in my job search ever since. I could get all down and throw up my hands and give up, but I know in my heart that there’s something perfect out there for me, something I was truly meant to do with the rest of my life that will make my family’s future more secure. I can feel it in my heart, and see it in my mind. And it’s something that takes my more natural skills and talents and uses them to their fullest potential. I think that could be what’s in store for you too.

      It takes a lot of faith.

    2. Hmmmm, answered prayers. There are just so many prayers that I have prayed and had answered. But there is one that really stands out because of the way it was answered.

      John was not an Adventist when we first got married. He didn’t even want to get into an “organized” religion, and he fought it for several years despite the fact that he would always attend church and even paid tithe when he wasn’t even a member. He “just believed.”

      There was a time when I was pushing religion onto him and I hate to admit that. But the answer didn’t come from my doing the job of the Holy Spirit, and pushing John into it. It came when I decided to back off and allow the Holy Spirit to take over. All I did was pray from the bottom of my heart. Six months later, after not really discussing it any further with John, he saw someone with a similar story as him at our church get baptized himself, right after the man had told his story of why he was getting baptized after so many years spent resisting it. Our pastor at the time was talking about baptism and asking if there would be others interested. The answer came not from John but from God Himself to me. He filled me up at the time and told me that John had made a decision. I had a huge smile on my face, confirmation came when, after church, John told me the answer that I had already known. That was in 1998, when John was 37 years old, and as he watched the man going under the water and coming back up and the congregation sang “The Old Rugged Cross,” John said later, he had a lump in his own throat and tears filled his own eyes, and he knew it was time.

      Now why did God decide to tell me before John about his decision? I don’t know. But it convinces me that He is there and that He is in control of everything. Maybe over time the other answered prayers will be told but this is one that I remember because God told me first. John got baptized into my church eights years after we were married. He didn’t become as religious as he is UNTIL JUST RECENTLY when he lost his job, that was 14 years after he became baptized. I have never seen him be so strong spiritually. I will be strong with and for him. I will always remember that.

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