You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
- 1 John 4:4-6
“I know not by what method rare
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that he has given his Word
Which tells me prayer is always heard
And will be answered soon or late
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought
But leave my prayers with him alone
Whose will is wiser than my own
Assured that he will grant my quest
Or send some answer far more blessed.”
- Eliza M. Hickok.
“Soon after Dallas Theological Seminary opened in 1924, it faced a major financial crisis. Creditors banded together and announced that they intended to foreclose. On the morning of the threatened foreclosure, the leadership of the seminary met in the president’s office to pray that God would meet their need. One of the men present was Harry Ironside, who prayed in his characteristic style, ‘Lord, the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money.’
“While they were praying, a tall Texan walked into the outer office and said to the secretary, ‘I just sold two carloads of cattle. I’ve been trying to make a business deal but it fell through, and I feel compelled to give the money to the seminary. I don’t know f you need it, but here’s the check.’
“Knowing the financial need, the secretary took the check and timidly tapped on the door of the office where the prayer meeting was being held. The gift was exactly the amount of the debt! Recognizing the name on the check as that of a prominent Ft. Worth cattleman. He announced with joy, ‘Harry, God sold the cattle!’” (story taken from Illustrations Unlimited by James S. Hewitt)
- Honor Books Publishing, God’s Little Devotional Book on Prayer
Yesterday, the post was on how we must keep praying. But at the same time, God is listening. And God responds.
I may not have received a check for two carloads (I am sure rail cars) of cattle, but I have gotten immediate answers to prayer. I have also gotten an answer in such a way months later that it had to be God’s hand in the deal. And I have had those prayers that never seem to get answered. A good friend of mine at church said that there was something he had prayed for over 30-40 years. He knew God was listening, but my friend’s awareness of the answer was still in the circling pattern. That never kept him from repeating the prayer again and again. In spite of the lack of ‘response’, my friend’s faith continued to grow.
As I mentioned yesterday, continuing to pray may not change God’s plan, but it changes us.
As for the poem’s connection with the quote, the devotional had used the first two lines as the title for the story that followed about God selling the cattle.
Do you need someone to sell the cattle and give you the money? Well, maybe God has a different method to reach the same end, but our response and our continued prayer help us grow in faith.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.