Monday, October 24, 2011

"The Fruit of Prayer" Part 18

- 18 -
Answered Prayers, Floating From the Sky

I'll never forget the day we saw millions of answered prayers, floating from the sky.

Many years ago in our Sunday evening fellowship, my daughter Emmie and her friend Lila began to regularly request prayer that it would snow. We prayed accordingly, telling the girls that if God determined it to be in accordance with His glory and our best interests, He would gladly answer.

Several years passed with no snow, so one of the girls decided that we needed more specificity in our praying. "I want to pray that it will snow in Mobile, Alabama (our hometown)." Once again, we asked the Lord for snow, this time more pointedly and directed toward a place He rarely sees fit to whiten in the winter.

Still no snow, but the Lila and Emmie doggedly followed the Biblical principle of perseverance and importunity in prayer. We prayed weekly, per their request, for snow in Mobile, Alabama. And then, on a Sunday evening I'll never forget, one of the young ladies upped the ante, as it were, and in a major way. I think it was Lila. "I want to pray," she said, "that it will snow in Mobile, Alabama - on Christmas Day."

I recall my response. Shifting slightly uncomfortably in my chair, I cleared my throat, pausing to find the right words to say regarding so tall an order of prayer. "Uh... uh yes, Lila. We can certainly pray that it will snow in Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Day."

Now you have to understand the meteorological context of this matter to realize the magnitude of Lila's request. Again, Mobilians rarely see snow during any winter. Maybe once every 5-7 years, the weatherman will tell us that we have a chance, a small chance, for snowfall. Most of us get pretty excited when that happens, and then feel pretty disappointed when almost invariably snow fails to materialize. And the thought of snow in Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Day? Well, let me just say with Bing, we all dream of a white Christmas.

In the best pastoral tone and intention I could muster, I explained, as I had in the past, that we could surely honor the girls' request, but with the caveat of all prayer. "We all understand that God's glory and will must be our first reason for praying about anything, and also that He always looks to our best interests in answering our prayers. So, we will indeed pray that it will snow in Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Day, if the Lord wills."

Every Sunday thereafter, for a number of years, we prayed accordingly. In those days, Lila's family and ours gathered together on Christmas Day for dinner and the sharing of the holiday together. On one of those occasions, about 5 or 6 years ago, the day dawned very cold (always a nice blessing in Mobile, where it can be 70 degrees on Christmas day). As the day progressed, it began to be overcast, and the weather reports indicated a chance of rain late in the afternoon. We had our dinner together, opened some presents, and began a game that our family traditionally played each year.

At some point, several of the young people stepped outside. They're weren't out there long, however, because the door flew open as one of them burst into the house. "Hey, you won't believe this! Come outside! It's sno..." Well, you know, don't you?

Yes, it was snowing. In Mobile, Alabama. On Christmas Day. I never think, speak or write those words without tears welling up in my eyes, and falling down my cheeks (it's happening right now). It was snowing. In Mobile, Alabama. On Christmas Day. Or perhaps better expressed, it was snowing millions of answers to prayer in Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Day. We all ran outside and let the unfamiliar feeling of snowflakes bless us with the wonder of frozen white beauty, but even more, of the Psalmist's supplication, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us" (Psalm 90:17).

The snow didn't accumulate that day. Emmie and Lila forgot to pray about that specific matter. I've always been kind of glad about that because I suspect that had they done so, Mobile might still be digging out from the blizzard that would have descended upon us! But what they asked for, they received because in our wonderful Heavenly Father's purposes, it did honor the Lord Jesus Christ, and it was in our best interests.

Sometimes I wonder what the effect of this will be in Lila and Emmie's hearts. They have already grown into two sweet, wonderful, beautiful and fine young ladies. They bear a shared legacy of giving those of us who for so long heard their requests the blessing of seeing God's loving faithfulness in a particularly special way. I have to believe the wonder of it all will with them for a lifetime, and for an eternity. Yes, it snowed in Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Day, in response to the prayers of two children who exemplified the faith to which we are called, and even more, the faithfulness of the God who calls us.

It's not often you get to see millions of answers to prayer, floating from the sky. I wish you could have been there, both for the hearing of hundreds of Sunday evening requests, and then for that day, that blessed day, when Lila and Emmie's Father doubtless took great pleasure in blessing their hearts, and ours. And hopefully now, yours.

"For He saith to the snow, Be thou upon the earth."
(Job 37:6)
"Thy mercy, o Lord, is in the heavens, faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds."
(Psalm 36:5)

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