Every once in a while, a response from God comes much faster, if I’m awake and alert to notice it.
Posted in , Aug 31, 2018
What is the fastest answer to prayer you’ve ever received?
One of my fastest answer to prayer happened recently. I took on another job (in addition to writing and speaking) just over a year ago. It involves a huge amount of reading, every day, much of it on a screen.
Several months in, I began to get concerned. Fearful, even. You see, I’ve always loved reading. I usually read more than a hundred books a year, books of all kinds—fiction and nonfiction alike: classics, memoirs, how-to’s, inspirational, children’s picture books, etc. But my reading hit a snag. I realized one day that I had started four books in a row in which I had quickly lost interest and stopped reading (I used to feel obligated to finish every book I started but I gave up on that years ago, deciding not to force myself to finish something I wasn’t enjoying or profiting from).
The realization concerned me. I wondered if my new, reading-heavy job had spoiled reading for me—at least, reading for enjoyment, reading as recreation. That would be a nightmare.
So that day, I asked my wife and adult children to pray for me. I asked them to pray that I hadn’t lost or wouldn’t lose enthusiasm for reading, that I would recapture the joy of reading and that my voluminous job-related reading task wouldn’t imperil other reading for me. They promised to pray, and in my evening prayers that day and morning prayers the next day, I prayed the same.
Later that next day I picked a long-neglected volume off my book shelf, a novel I had planned to read “someday.” I started it. I read 50 or 60 pages in a sitting. I closed the book at bedtime and, as I did, realized that God had answered their prayers—and mine.
In one day.
That’s one of the fastest answers to prayer I’ve ever received. Not that I don’t often pray and pray and wait weeks, months, even years for an answer. That has happened—and is still happening. But every once in a while, the answer comes much faster, if I’m awake and alert to notice it.
For example, as a writer, I pray for my writer every morning, that God will inspire and empower the flow of ideas and words and help me to reach my goals and touch my readers’ hearts. That is a prayer He answers almost every time I pray it, often within minutes, if not hours. And on those occasions when I forget or neglect prayer, the lack is obvious, reminding me of how often and how quickly God tends to answer that daily (almost) prayer.
Sometimes, as God promised in the Bible (“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear,” Isaiah 65:24, NIV), I learn that the answer to my prayer was set in motion before I even prayed. This happens often, when I stress and fret—and eventually pray—about a financial need, only to receive a check in the mail that was sent before I even prayed.
I haven’t yet figured out what makes the difference between slow answers and fast answers. I suspect a lot of it has to do with me and my growth in grace (and patience). But I know this: Whether the answer hastens or tarries, it won’t come until I pray.