Careful Prayer: Did I Really Do That?

Prayer is a tricky thing. It’s one of the hardest things in the universe to understand, ranking right up there with understanding the Trinity. Prayer has always seemed like this allusive thing that I could never quite get right, and then when I thought I had it figured out, I’d get what I want-or at least what I thought I wanted. Let me explain.

Have you ever really wanted something so bad you couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was the winter of 1997 when I pulled up to a farmers house to finish some work on his property that I first noticed it. It was canary yellow and boy was it candy to my eye’s. I couldn’t stop staring at the curves of the fenders and the chrome on the wheels. Then there was the half moon windows with the half moon stickers. This truck was designed and engineered before the foundations of the Earth to be mine. The only problem of course was the price tag. It’s not like it mattered that the sticker price was $5,000, because I had exactly zero bucks in my pocket. I was driving in around in an orange 1970 Pinto that had a mind of its own. I’m convinced that car was demon possessed with a spirit of embarrassment so the lure of this beautiful truck was all the more enticing. Every time I pulled up somewhere and proceeded to turn off the car, that orange demon would spit, cough, and chug for minutes after turning the key. With each chug, I slid lower in the seat towards the floor. I knew I was gaining character, but I thought surely God could teach me character in a yellow 1956 Chevy truck. As I left the farmers house that day a thought struck me, I just need to pray for it. It was from this experience I learned the necessity’s of prayer.

Prayer and Praise:

On my drive home that day I started rehearsing in my head all the things I had heard about prayer. I had once heard someone say that praise is the highest form of prayer. I had recounted 2 Chronicles chapter 20 where Jehoshaphat was told to march out in front of a giant army, which he had no possible way of beating, and begin to praise God. God told him that the battle was not his, but the Lords. Hmm, my mind was firing now. I just need to praise God and that will bring down legions of angels to come and fight over the powers at bay that were trying to keep that beautiful truck from me. I then proceeded to sing Jesus freak at the top of my lungs, because if any song could unlock the powers of heaven it’s that one. After getting to the verse about John the Baptist, still the heavens hadn’t opened. I knew then that I was going to need to step up to the next stage in prayer.

The claiming prayer:

The praise prayer wasn’t working, so I knew I had to pull out the big guns. This poor truck was being help captive by the powers of hell and only I could free it. I then remembered the authority by which Jesus prayed. He just spoke, and things happened. Then I remembered something He said. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. (Luke 17:6) How could I have been so dumb. The answer was right in front of my face and I was missing it. I just need to have faith. I just need to claim it as mine. I then proceeding to believe. How does one begin to do this you may ask? Well, first off, you have to sound angry. The powers of darkness need to understand that you mean business, and you can’t do this with a quiet voice. Then you have to shout out your claims of faith. This has to be done out loud otherwise you’re not really believing. I shouted out things like; I claim that truck in Jesus name. I claim the doors, and I claim the hood, I claim the fenders, and I claim the wood. I must warn you to be careful in your claims though. I got so excited about my new-found authority, I almost chucked the truck into the sea by faith. You don’t want to do that. Minutes latter and only a hoarse throat to show for my efforts I realized the principalities and powers holding this truck were going to be broken easily. Once again I need to step up my prayers.

Intercessory prayer:

Intercessory prayer is the act of interceding or mediating between two parties. It’s a prayer in which a request in made on behalf of another person. At this point I realized what was happening. I needed to pray for the farmer to release the truck over to me. It must be the farmer that is the key to this whole thing, I thought. I then began to pray passionate schizophrenic prayers asking God to either convince him to give me the truck or to harden his heart and make him crazy like the Pharaoh or old.

The fervent prayer:

After deep intercession was made for the farmers eye’s to be opened I then remembered another verse in James. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Never mind the fact that I had no idea what effectual, fervent, and availeth meant, but I had an idea that God just didn’t want me to give up. It was a good thing this verse came when it did, because at this point I was starting to loose faith. I had praised, I had claimed, I interceded and still nothing. What else could be done? By this time I was home, and like a good student trying to get what they want, I looked up what it meant to be fervent. I was right! God didn’t want me to give up. He just wanted me to keep knocking on the door of faith, and that by persistence, the windows of heaven would be opened to me.

Answered prayer:

By this point I was well into days of prayer over the deliverance of the most amazing ’56’ Chevy in the world. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wanted this truck to be mind. I began to thank Him for the answered prayer that was soon to come. Sure enough, two days later, I drove to the farmers house and wouldn’t you know it, he sold that truck to me for a fraction of the price. Not only did he reduce the price drastically, but he let me make small payment on it over the next year. I tried to withhold my exuberant joy, but inside I was like a school boy just starting summer break. He gave me instructions and tossed me the keys and from that point on my life was never the same.

I didn’t make it down the road far that day before a couple things were apparent to me. In spite of the fact that I had no idea what to do in prayer, I was convinced beyond any doubt that God still answers prayer. Even though my heart was wrong, and my methods were worse, God wanted me to understand that he uses prayer.

I wish I could say that was the only thing God wanted me to learn from this experience. Over the course of the next few months I also learned you need to be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it. Roseburg, Oregon is a rainy and cold place in the winter, and if you spend a lot of time in your car there are a few things you’re going to want. First, you’re going to want a heater. I know, it seems so basic, but I had to learn this the hard way. That beautiful ’56’ Chevy was a sight to behold from the outside, but it didn’t have a heater. For the next few months I delivered pizza’s with portable heater that plugged into the cigarette light stuffed up my coat, and let me tell you, it didn’t do much good.

The next thing you’re going to want your car to have in the rainy winter months of pizza delivery is power steering. At this point your thinking, come on Tom, you can live without power steering. Well, you try delivery pizza’s down a cul-de-sac with the worst steering Chevy ever made. After driving that truck for six months, I was like Bruce Lee minus the karate skills. My arms were cut though, I’ll tell you that.

Lastly, you’re going to want sealed windows when it rains ten months out of the year. I thought for sure I had a mold problem growing on my leg from the perpetual moisture seeping through the seals, or lack of if you will. Unfortunately, my ’56’ beauty had none of these things and so began the cycle of prayer again.

Moral of the story, Pray. But, be careful what you pray for because you just might get it.

Have you ever prayed for something you wished you hadn’t?

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