Yesterday was one of my dear friends’ birthday. Her birthday always makes me smile because, well I love her, and two it always reminds me of how specific God can be. Many years ago she called me one day and said she needed prayer. She and her husband were in the midst of adopting another child and she said she needed some confirmation that this adoption would go through well. Of all of her adoptions this one had the most uncertainties in it: we weren’t even sure if birth mom’s due date was correct… So, I prayed that God would begin to send baby things to my friend. You know, formula packets, baby magazines, diapers—all those things new or soon-to-be moms magically get in the mail as baby approaches. Our specific prayer: send baby things, Jesus.
A couple of days later, she called me. We had already talked earlier that day and it was a little late so I was a little worried when I picked up the phone. “What’s wrong?”
“We’re on our way to the hospital. She had the baby and wants us there now to sign papers and everything.”
“Well, we prayed for baby things,” she said.
“Um, I didn’t think He’d actually send the baby…” My shock-filled statement made us both laugh.
And it was her birthday.
Once, my sister called me frantic. Her oldest son had been gone for at least 3 weeks. We had no idea where he was and she was just sick with worry and frustration (and anger, to be honest). We prayed for his safe return but I also prayed that God would do whatever it takes to bring that boy home. “Seriously, Lord, if it takes a dog bite to bring him down, do what you have to…”
My sister called me a few days later. She was at the hospital. Her son had been pursued by police and instead of stopping; he tried to escape by jumping over a fence. The officer happened to be a part of the K-9 patrol. He let his dog go and my nephew was caught and bit by the dog.
As I entered the hospital, my sister was just shaking her head at me and my nephew was screaming at the top of his lungs how this was all my fault.
Now, I share these things with you NOT to brag about how awesome I am as a prayer (because I just ask; God is the one who does the work)—I’m sharing this with you to remind you to be specific when you pray.
I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
If you have kids or have ever seen the movie A Christmas Story, you know that being specific is essential to getting what you want. When we ask our darlings what they want, they never say, “Toys” or “Games” or “Whatever” unless they are teenagers and that is a whole other blog. Anyway, kids want to give specifics and we as parents want specifics. I ache to know every detail of my kids’ desires, hurts, joys, and frustrations and I desperately want them to tell me how I can help them.
Now, remember, God isn’t a genie in a bottle or a mall Santa whose purpose is to give you everything your fickle human heart desires. This is about communicating in a relationship. When we are specific to the ones we love it shows confidence in our relationship; it tells them they are “worthy” to know our thoughts/desires/needs and that we trust them to guard or keep or do what we ask.
Do you know why I shared the examples above? My friend and my sister now have stories of how much God is in the details of their lives simply because I prayed specifically and He in His goodness moved. And I have a reminder that God listens to me.
Today, be specific with God. Yes, He knows what you need and want but like any parent, He desires to hear about it from you. To talk you through what’s going on—because sometimes we want things that will shoot our eye out. Too, ask Him to be specific with you. He has things He’d like to entrust to you, too, you know. Do you know that? People He wants you to love, adventures He wants to take you on… You are always on His mind, beloved. Talk to Him.
“On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 17-18, 23-24