Community. Conversation. Connection.

You’re an Answer to Prayer

We’re continuing our book club discussion of The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns (this week: chapter 14–Finally, the Good News). If you have a response post this week, add it at the end of this post. Also be sure to head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog. I know you’ll be challenged and blessed.


This chapter starts with a quote from an anonymous thinker:

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”

“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”

“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

The last several Wednesday book club posts have been hard in that it’s so difficult to take in the reality of all that suffering and know what to do, but if we are to truly follow Jesus, we’ll be led right into the middle of it in some form or fashion.

Just a couple months ago, I attempted to spark some vision in our church about who God had called us to be by talking about being a community/family, reaching out to our city, and changing the world. And yes, I believe a church that consistently runs between 35 to 50 people can do all those things, even change the world.

The strategy is nothing new and I told them we are committed to Go, Pray, and Give. All we can do is our part. No need to despair that we can’t do it all, we jump in and go locally and globally. We pray for missionaries we are able to support as well as everything the Holy Spirit shows us to pray. Then we give as often and as generously as we can directly to missions and those who are going.

One thing that I loved in this chapter was Mr. Stearns realization that he was an answer to a struggling widow’s prayer. I’ve known this before, but I forget.

  • When God moves us to serve and show kindness to one another, you’re answering a prayer (even if it’s not that specific person’s)
  • When you take up the call to pray for supernatural intervention and provision, you’re releasing the power of God as His heavenly Kingdom comes on the earth
  • When you give expectantly and graciously of time, money, and resources—no matter how small you think it is—God is weaving together a beautiful tapestry that is answering prayers.

I hope that’s invigorating to you! As we discipline ourselves to listen and respond, every act of obedience, love, kindness, and faithfulness is furthering the Kingdom of God in unimaginable ways. Prayers are being answered.

He chooses to use you and me. I just want to take a moment to rejoice that in our small and great sacrifices and obedience, God has answered prayers and lives have been radically transformed for eternity.

Have any great testimonies of God using you to answer prayer? It’s not boasting. We share to encourage one another in good works! I’d love to hear from you.


24 Comments

  1. Man, there are too many times to list them and some of them are much longer than I could put into a comment. I just know that God answers prayer. He had done it time and time again.
    Michael recently posted..GrouchyMy Profile

    • That’s a good thing to know. Thanks, Michael.

  2. As a pastor I think there are special times that God does use me/us beyond what we think He should. Does that make sense? I appreciate God using me to meet a person’s need, whether big or small. One of the ways He has been refreshing my spirit lately has been a small thing: notes from people about a sermon or something said in a sermon that opened up new eyes for them. It is something I have known and probably think everyone knows but they are confirming that God was leading by His move in their life. I hope that does not sound self-serving to say all that. It feels good to be involved in making a difference. Good look at this chapter today Jason.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Un-WalledMy Profile

    • I know what you mean. Those little acts of love and appreciation mean so much. I know you will, but keep standing, Bill. God is using you in such wonderful ways to touch lives.

  3. That quote at the beginning of this post--very convicting. When our church was first starting out, Jeff and some other members reached out to some homeless men panhandling under the overpass. (Remember the Pimp this Bum campaign?) Anyway, Jeff befriended one gentleman in particular. An older man who was living on the streets because, among other reasons, was basically living on the lamb to avoid some outstanding warrants. After several weeks of conversations, Wolf decided to turn himself in and serve his time. Jeff visited him daily in jail and talked to him on the phone when he wasn’t there. Wolf served his time and was released to a halfway house. Once that happened, Jeff was unable to find where he was. Since he wasn’t a relative, the county would not give him any information as to his whereabouts. All we could do was pray that Wolf was doing well and that he would get in touch with us if he needed help. Jeff saw Wolf back on the streets a couple of times, but was unable to get to him because of all the traffic. After everything he had been through, he chose to return to the streets. A few weeks ago, Jeff got a call from the morgue. Wolf had died. Presumably alone on the streets with no next of kin information available. It’s things like that that really hit you hard and leave you wondering if what you did was enough. The not knowing where Wolf’s final home is--that hurts.

    Sorry for the tangent, but faith can be so difficult sometimes.
    katdish recently posted..A tale of two vacationsMy Profile

    • That’s so heartbreaking, Kat. It also reminds us that we can only do what we can and God is in charge of the rest. People make choices just like we do, but it does make me want to pray, go, and give to a greater degree so each has ample opportunity to respond to God’s grace.

      Thanks for sharing that.

      • Gotta go along with Jason’s thoughts on this one Kat. What a heartbreaker. But what an awesome testimony for Jeff (I presume your husband?) He will never regret reaching out to Wolf. Thanks for sharing that.
        bill (cycleguy) recently posted..What Is Your PlanMy Profile

        • Jeff is her pastor, and I agree with you, Bill. No regrets.

  4. That quote gets me every time I read it. Wow!
    Many years ago, during my quiet time, God laid my husband’s niece on my heart & the amount of $50. She is a missionary with YWAM. I argued with God, a bit, thinking that we should do more but the $50 just stuck. So we sent the money.
    Several weeks later, my BIL called crying. These family members are still coming to understand Who God is. He said “do you know what you did.” I obviously didn’t. We had sent his daughter the remaining $50 she needed for her ticket and it arrived the day the money was due. He was blown away and wanted to know how we knew.
    I learned from that experience the importance of obeying God. Not just what He says, but when He says, and exactly how He says.
    And I believe He used that situation as a witness to our family. It is my desire that He use me more.
    Melinda Lancaster recently posted..A real fixMy Profile

    • Oh, I love stories like this so much! It can only be God. Wonderful story, Melinda. Thank you for obeying and thank you for sharing it here. What a blessing!

  5. “Because I’m afraid he’d ask me the same question.”

    I just received this book as a gift. I’m a little afraid to read it.

    I love the thought that our spontaneous act of kindness could be a specific response to someone else’s prayer.
    Sandra Heska King recently posted..First SnowMy Profile

    • God does such amazing things! It blows me away.

      Thanks Sandra. And if you catch up to us, we’d love to have you join the discussions. Also if you read a chapter and want to discuss in one of our responses, that would be amazing too! Don’t be afraid to read the book. It’s tough, but it’s really good. :)

  6. This is very encouraging in light of the heavy needs of our world. I am in the middle of reading this book too. I’m not as far though. I really appreciate you leading the church to “go, pray and give”. Powerful.

    Thank you for your comment about my writing journey today. You know how to encourage me.

    God bless you!
    tiffany
    tiffany stuart recently posted..i heart faces scenic black and whiteMy Profile

    • Thanks Tiffany. And as far as encouragement goes, freely I’ve received so freely I give. :) Blessings and more grace in Jesus’ name.

  7. “Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence.” W. S. Bowd

    I lean on Him all the time…Good thoughts bro’

    • I think “Lean on Me” is probably one of God’s favorite songs. He sings it all the time. :) Thanks Jay.

  8. “I just want to take a moment to rejoice that in our small and great sacrifices and obedience, God has answered prayers and lives have been radically transformed for eternity.”

    Amen! All it takes is obedience to Him regardless of whether or not the task seems large or small… Everything He charges us with is vital to the kingdom. His plan is perfect. His wisdom exceeds any bounds. We just have to trust and obey…then stand back and marvel at the glory of His works.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..BD-THiOG A Difference is Being MadeMy Profile

    • That’s it, Dusty! Thank you.

  9. LOVED this post, Jason. What a challenge. We can’t be afraid to ask God what we can do to help another… or not wait to ask, just DO.
    Ginny (MAD21) recently posted..One Word At A Time- FellowshipMy Profile

    • He’s always faithful to guide us and direct our hearts! Thanks so much, Ginny.

  10. That opening quote rocked my world. I read it several times because it impacted me so much. It definitely forces me to evaluate where I am at in a lot of areas.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Do you have a to dont listMy Profile

    • Yeah, it flips a lot of thinking on its ear. A great quote that is challenging me. Thanks Kevin.

  11. I continue to appreciate your ongoing discussion here, Jason. Stearns asks tough questions — so do you. But it’s too easy not to ask at all, to look the other way, or not look at all. I know, I did that for years. Stearns’ book really jumpstarted a fire in me. Not that I’m saving the world or anything, but you know, I’m compelled to do something to make a difference, even a small difference.
    Michelle DeRusha recently posted..A Different AdventMy Profile

    • Thanks Michelle. I wouldn’t underestimate how those little things will change the world! I always appreciate your thoughts on these discussions. :)