You never know exactly what you’ll get when you ask for it in prayer. The Lord Jesus said we can be guaranteed of not getting a scorpion if we ask for an egg, or a serpent if we ask for a fish. But what do you get when you pray about a wayward child or difficult job? For our son, my wife and I actually added fasting to our prayers. All day long while my stomach gnawed at me, I wondered if it was such a good idea. I wondered if fasting was like a Catholic thing like wearing a hair t-shirt or crawling on one’s knees up the steps of St. Peter’s church. I wondered if maybe it was like holding your breath till you got God to do what you wanted. Not too long later, our son broke his neck. He wore a steel halo for about 16 weeks and he went through two major surgeries. He has a two inch titanium screw in his neck which gets awfully cold when the temperatures dip much below zero. But the break did not seem to have any significant long term effect on him either physically or spiritually. The Lord did get through to him about eight years later. Had I been praying for him then? Yes, but the prayer had become one of those items on the list that we always prayed for.
My job had become overwhelming. Before I could clock in, there would be three people waiting to talk with me. The company had centralized several customer service procedures. They made a mess of things and they never cleaned up their mess. I was on call 24/7. And it seemed like every day, some new duty landed on my desk. I prayed, “Lord, you have to help me with my job. I pleaded with my friends, “Pray for my job.” And then I got fired.
I do appreciate the answer to my prayer. Unlike David in Psalm 35 I do not complain: “How long O Lord, How long will you just look on? You have seen O Lord, be not silent.” But though now my stress from my job is gone, curiously, I still have a bit of stress. So I’m praying, “Now what?” I am praying hopefully. I expect an answer soon and I know it will be a good answer. One thing I’m pretty sure of, the answer will be other than I expect.