Some years ago when our sons were very young one of them left a note for us shortly before his birthday. It was a list of things he wanted. He had divided it into three sections: impossible (a Nintendo 64), middle (a micro scooter) possible (black biking gloves) ! As a postscript he added “I love you Mummy & Daddy” – always a winner with parents! We have kept the note ever since.
At the time we were financially hard-pressed and I think our son understood this and he knew that we didn’t buy extravagant birthday gifts nevertheless he was still hopeful. When we saw this note something in us immediately wanted to bless our son and to give him what he most wanted and what he thought was impossible. We managed to get a second-hand Nintendo 64 and of course he was very surprised and absolutely delighted. He could not believe that what he thought was impossible had become reality.
This is a great picture of what our Father God is like with us. He delights to give us good things and responds to our faith. He loves us and wants the best for us and His timing is perfect. If we have a wrong view of God, that He is aloof, stern, a hard task-master, we will never trust Him to do good to us and we won’t ask big prayers for the impossible.
Since that time Rob and I have always had our own impossible list of things we have been praying for. Many of those prayers have now been answered and we have added new ones to the list. One example was in 2011. We had owned a succession of elderly second-hand cars which we used to run until they were no longer economically viable (in practice this usually meant that we could not afford to repair them to get them through the MOT.) In November our car finally went to the scrap yard and we began to pray for a new(er) car. We had no savings so we decided that we would pray every day for a car and get by without one until God provided for us. After two or three weeks of cadging lifts, borrowing cars to do the grocery shop and walking wherever possible we came to the point where we realised that it was a lot harder to do without a car than we had thought.
There came a day when we decided that we would pray one more time and after that we would have to look for another cheap old car. After Rob had left for work I had a phone call from a friend who said that he and his wife wanted to buy us a car! I phoned Rob who was on the bus to tell him the good news. Shortly afterwards we were able to buy a much better car than we had ever had before and which we are still driving today.
Throughout our married life we have kept a book recording our prayers and the answers we have received. From time to time we read through the book and are amazed to see how many of our prayers have been answered. This is such an encouragement when we are tempted to give up praying. We have many other examples of things that were impossible for us which God has answered.
Our book is annotated with scriptures to remind us about what God is like: “with God all things are possible“, “God has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness“, “nothing is too difficult for Him“, “you do not have because you do not ask” God loves it when we ask Him for anything believing that He will do it. We see this in the story of the centurion who came to Jesus asking him to heal his sick slave. He responds to our faith.
Of course some of our prayers were not answered as quickly as the ones for the car. We are still praying for some things after many years. Some prayers were not answered in the way we envisaged, for example I wasn’t healed of cancer but God did speak to me and sustain me through the treatment.
We can get very hung up on whether we should pray for things for ourselves but God calls us to have faith in every area of lives whether spiritual or material. He encourages us to pray for our daily bread. Our whole lives should be lived by faith not just what we consider to be our “spiritual” lives. Of course we have not only prayed for things for ourselves – but for our church, our friends, projects, people who are sick, house-moves , church building projects and so on.
When our prayers are answered miraculously it is SO exciting, the impossible becomes possible, and we turn back to the Giver and thank Him with all our hearts (just as our son thanked us ). When God blesses us it enables us to bless others. There is an overflow of blessing. In fact this is just what the Bible teaches us – that the measure that God uses is “pressed down, shaken together and running over.“More than we can imagine, with plenty to share.
I challenge you to start an impossible list. You will be amazed at the answers to prayer, how your faith grows and how you can bless others through your praying.