It is easy to overlook things in our lives that could make a huge difference. We instead attempt to do it our own way. I am reminded of a situation when changing the rear brakes on one of my kid’s car. I cannot tell you how many brake jobs I have done. I am reminded of a question from a part guy asking if I had the right tool to do the job. My first thought was just to say, “Thank you, I’ve got what I need.” It was what he said next that saved me a lot of money. There was a special tool needed for that particular car to get the brakes off. If I would have done it like I always have, I would have damaged that main part!
I was recently reminded of this in regards to prayer. Some of you know that we are having to redo a section of landscaping at our church to comply with the approved site plan. Now before you blame the government, it was all my fault. I installed the wrong plants in one section because I was using the wrong version of the landscaping plan. Yes, there are some extenuating circumstances, like that plan being changed at the last minute, but this one is on me. The county rightfully did not accept our request to accept the landscaping as planted for good reasons. So a volunteer work force will be transplanting 45 azaleas to another location and replanting with 45 Leyland Cypress this next weekend.
My illustration of how we miss out by not praying is related to obtaining the new trees to be installed. Last week I called around and located the 45 trees at four stores of a big box home supply store. I decided to wait until the first of the week to pick them up, since we were slammed with stuff. The result is that when I called on Tuesday, all four stores were sold out, no inventory. The store inventories showed that several stores in the greater Seattle area had single digit quantities available.
I am reminded of Jesus words on the importance of prayer to his disciples. “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) I need you to take a moment to ponder the second sentence. It is here that I am reminded that I need to ask. It means I have to be the one to pray. Second, I am reminded that the Lord responds to our requests. Yes, His response could be yes, no, or wait. And third we are reminded that prayer changes our attitude.
I can say that after I struck out talking to the third store, my frustration was building. I blamed myself for that, I could have picked them up last week! I wonder how many times we don’t pray, thinking that we need to dig ourselves out of the situation at hand. Oh, I did not mention that stores were not expecting new inventory for a month! I had resolved that I would need to spend the day literally driving to a number of stores in the greater Seattle area to get the quantities needed. It was at this point that I prayed to ask the Lord’s help before I made the next phone call to the Tacoma store.
The gal shared that they did not have any inventory, but she offered to look at their computer system to see what is available in their other stores. I agreed but was thinking that the last three persons had also done the same thing. Initially you echo that there were some stores with inventory but that they only had a handful of trees each. It was then that she mentioned that there was one store code that showed 44 trees. It was a store code that she did not know. It was only after a quick google search that she determined is that the Bonney Lake location.
The point of the story is that I called the location and they did have the 44 trees. I put them on hold and took off to pick them up. It is amazing that they had the trees! What is more amazing is when I showed up they shared that they actually had 45 trees! It was exactly what we needed.
My joy truly was complete. I shared with the employees after they loaded the truck that they were an answer to prayer (they did look at me funny!) But this is an example of how God can work if we will only invite him in. Prayer really does make a difference, not only in the help it brings from our Creator but also in changing our attitude on life!
Now, I am praying for the Lord to provide the people needed on Saturday February 26 to help us get this job done!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson