We spent Monday and Tuesday this week at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Monday was HOT! I mean we were just pouring sweat from the moment we walked into the park. When we prayed that night, Caroline prayed the same prayer she always does…I’ll go ahead and let you in on it… “Jesus, thank you for me, Mama, Daddy, Jameson. Thank you for keep us safe, and thank you for show me your will for my life, Amen.” Usually, I add to it when she finishes. This time, I added “And Lord, let it be awesome weather tomorrow and let us not burn up like we did today.” Now, the heat index was supposed to be 105, and it was supposed to be hot, humid, and miserable. I don’t really think I was that serious when I added my words. In fact, I felt kind of silly and selfish for even asking. However, the next day was absolutely AWESOME! It was overcast the whole time we were there and it felt GREAT! On top of that, there were very few people in the park and we got to ride and ride. It might have been the best time I have ever had at an amusement park. I was just in disbelief and I couldn’t help but praise Him and thank Him every 20 minutes.
Now, when God answered this prayer, it got me thinking, mainly because He certainly didn‘t have to do this for me and my family…but He did! All day, while having a great time, the Lord reminded me of the many times that I received immediate answers to prayers. Here are a few…
1. Tonya and I wanted to go see Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at Clemson Universtity, but they were sold out! We prayed…we got the University’s President’s box seats…for FREE!
2. We prayed to get into see Trans-Siberian Orchestra because they had sold out…we sat in the third row.
3. I drove off with my favorite Bible on the roof of my truck one time. I Looked EVERYWHERE and couldn’t find it. I prayed…while I was praying…my Grandma called and said she had it.
4. A student and myself prayed for one of his friends to be saved…he was saved four and a half hours later!
5. Caroline was having awful breathing problems and had to do these breathing treatments and sometimes Tonya and I were just scared that she might stop breathing. One morning when she woke up really bad, we both put our hands on her and prayed for God to touch our sick child. Today, I can’t remember the last time she had to do one of those breathing treatments.
I wondered why God chose to bring these to my remembrance, He had done lots of other stuff. Then, He told me… “you prayed out loud.” Then, it was as if I knew that this is what I was supposed to tell you ASAP. So, here I am writing this WMD just minutes before I post it. I don’t think I realized it before, but praying out loud, outside of a church setting, makes a difference.
I was also reminded of a time when I had a really hurt back and was going to try to teach that day anyway. A pastor saw that I was in pain while I was walking into the school. He didn’t even ask me if I wanted him to pray for me. He just put his hand on my back and started praying out loud…in front of everybody. I thought that was a little weird…until I realized at the end of the day that my back was hurt really bad that morning. At some point during that day, the Lord touched me and I was fine.
So, why tell you this? If everybody in your family is not saved, you who are saved get together and pray out loud for them. If you aren’t where you need to be with the Lord, grab a friend who is and pray out loud. If you are having problems at work…grab a Christian friend and pray out loud. If you have a sick child, put your hands on them and pray out loud. If your house is a wreck and you are watching your family grow more and more apart every day, read some scripture out loud, pray out loud, and tell the Devil he is not welcome anymore. Then, invite the Holy Spirit in and ask Him to begin the process of healing your home. If you have a child that seems to be drifting further and further from the truth…pray out loud. The very next time somebody says “pray for ______,” grab their hand and pray right then and there in front of everybody…absolutely do not care if others are watching and listening. I have seen the Spirit go to work on those people listening in.
I know what you’re thinking…”but that’s hard!” Well, duh…the Devil is going to make sure it is. But, that is precisely why God responds so quickly. Anybody can just quietly pray in their hearts and minds. It takes guts to pray out loud.
I realize this is weird and a little bit different than what I usually write. I don’t even have a Bible verse for you to look up…maybe Matthew 18:19-20 could be used here. I just know your assignment this week…get your family, friends, or whoever God puts on your heart…and pray out loud. Then, tell somebody how God moved on your behalf!