During a chapel service I attended in my freshman year of college, I heard about an upcoming Urbana Student Missions Conference. John Stott was the featured speaker, and more than twelve thousand students, pastors, and missionaries were expected to attend.
Desiring to go, yet not wanting to burden my parents for the cost of the event, I prayed, “God, I would really like to attend Urbana. Would you please provide the money?” I didn’t mention my prayer to anyone else. As a student with no income at the time, I reasoned that if God wanted me to be at the conference, his provision would make that clear.
Several weeks later, my mom called me. “Ellen, the company you worked for over the summer just called to say that you haven’t cashed your final paycheck yet.” I was puzzled. “Really? Oh, Mom, I’m sure I cashed or deposited all of my paychecks. But just in case, could you check my bedroom closet? I stored my paycheck stubs in a shoebox on the shelf.”
I waited while my mom ran upstairs to look. A minute or so later, she was back on the phone. “Guess what I found in that shoebox!” she exclaimed. “One uncashed paycheck on top of all the stubs!” I was amazed. I’d heard of this kind of surprise happening to other people, but not to me. And then I remembered . . . I had prayed that God would provide funds for me to attend Urbana, having no clue that the money could appear in the form of an uncashed check.
After looking at the registration form for the conference, I realized that the amount of the uncashed paycheck my mom reported to me would not only pay for me to attend the event, it would also cover my transportation there and back. I was gratefully humbled by God’s generous provision. He had heard—and answered—my prayer with such a clear answer. With newfound confidence I signed up, even though I didn’t know anyone else who was attending. Not surprisingly, I loved every minute of it.
That experience changed me significantly. Knowing that God heard my prayer bolstered my faith and prompted me to keep praying, for myself and for others. Years later, I’m more convinced than ever that God hears our petitions and provides what we need. After reading through the Bible many times, I’m also convinced that God is the only one who has overcome the world and has the power to transform us from the inside out. For me, this change began by poring over the words in the Bible and pouring my heart out to God.
The best part of my day is the time I spend reading my One Year Bible each morning. God’s Word renews my, life and shapes my prayers. After reading that God created the world, I’m more mindful to thank him for things like pink hydrangeas, blue herons, or yellow corn on the cob. When I hit a snag and begin to worry, I’m reminded that since God feeds the birds who don’t plant, harvest, or store food, he will certainly care for me. Pondering this promise prompts me to say, “God, please help me in this quagmire I’m facing, especially in moments when my faith is weak.”
As you look through these selections, you might find phrases that describe things you’ve been thinking or praying about. Sometimes, listening in on another person’s thoughts and words helps us make sense of our own… Arranged alphabetically by specific occasions or topics, this book contains a total of 176 prayers. All of the specific-occasion prayers are original. Others are prayers from the Bible, stanzas from hymns that can be used as prayers or even sung, and prayers said throughout history. Hopefully, you’ll find some that are meaningful to your life and situation…My prayer for you is that God’s answer to one of your prayers might change your life today and impact other lives in the future.
You’ve been reading from the introduction of Prayers for Every Occasion by Ellen Banks Elwell. Learn more HERE>>