I moved to Redding ten years ago with my four kids, and we had nothing but backpacks. By the grace of God, we found a rental and slowly began to rebuild our lives. The kids had been through loss and abuse. The situation created a real need within us to pray.
Unbeknownst to me, my eight-year-old son was praying for signs that God existed. One afternoon he came running up to me yelling, “God’s not answering my prayers!” Being a single mom with four small kids meant I was always answering a considerable number of questions. I had explanations and teachings for every question. However, when my son asked me why God would not answer, it was not a teaching moment. It was important that my son see God show up.
I called my kids together, and, handing them two sticky notes each, I instructed them to write down a prayer on each one and put the notes on the door in the hallway.
The prayers ranged from small to large. I commissioned my children to pray the prayers on the notes every time they walked by the door. When a prayer had been answered, I’d pull the note off the door, leaving a blank spot to indicate God’s answered prayer.
Over the months, the notes came off the door one by one, restoring faith, until there was only one left. The last note read, “a car for mommy.” This note was written by my eight-year-old son. That note remained for quite a while and lost its stickiness. We put tape on and continued re-taping. We were relentless in our prayers to have that note come down.
One day I was at the table when a set of keys landed in front of me. A friend of mine had come over as a surprise to give me a paid-off car! They had no idea we were praying for one. My son came home from school, I walked him down the hall, and asked him to take off the last note. He cried. He wasn’t crying over a car; he was crying in restored faith. God showed up.
Children’s prayers are fierce. But so is their doubt at times. Sometimes we need to set teaching aside and ask God for action.
“God is not bound to act according to what we believe about Him. Rather, we are bound to believe Him as He demonstrates Himself to us.”—Beni Johnson