Prayers can work wonders. Many of us are a testament to this fact. Petitioning and intercession are probably the most popular forms of prayer. Both of these forms are good and effective. But are they the only form of effective prayer?
I hope the following real-life story opens our eyes and show us how sometimes God chooses to work miracles differently and in the most unexpected ways.
The Good Times
The story goes back to the early 1990s in the city of Bangalore in South India. One of my acquaintances, Adam (name changed to maintain anonymity) was a successful and prosperous businessman. He along with his business partners were co-owners of a multi-million dollar business. Life was wonderful and nothing material was lacking. Adam was a churchgoer but God and religion were way down his list of priorities.
The Bad Times
Time passed by happily for a long time but all of a sudden things started to get ugly between Adam and the other business partners. Matters came to a head when one day Adam was unceremoniously thrown out of the business by unfair means. The shock of the initial days soon gave way to thoughts of vengeance and justice. Even though there was no family income, money was not an issue yet as Adam had considerable financial assets.
The Ugly Times
Soon the days stretched to weeks and then to months, without a resolution in sight. Consequently, Adam’s finances got severely depleted, and one by one the family assets either were in danger of being confiscated by banks to recover the debt or were sold by the family to finance living expenses. In some instances, Adam was declared a defaulter and court cases slapped against him.
Finally, Adam and his family were penniless, practically homeless and completely helpless. No family or friend stood by them nor could anyone make a positive difference to their situation. With all doors closed, Adam ultimately realized that his only hope now lies not in humans, but in the Divine. He and his family resorted to prayer but nothing really improved. Until one night.
Walking down the road, Adam happened to pass by a church. All of a sudden, he saw a ray of light emanating from the Cross on the roof of the church, directed towards him. At the same time, he heard a voice speaking to him, “You do my work and I will do your work”.
Adam was rattled by this experience but knew that this was something extraordinary and not to be taken lightly. He spent the next few weeks discerning this incident, devoting time to prayer and seeking help within the Church.
Adam was touched by the words, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” - (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Adam soon understood the meaning of the message - “You do my work and I will do yours”. God wanted him to be a laborer in His fields, to bring in the harvest by spreading the Good News and helping the needy. With the help of local Church authorities, Adam joined a prayer group especially targeting those who were at the lowest rungs of the social ladder. Many who attended, benefited spiritually.
Adam discovered that he was able to overcome the anger, unforgiveness, and vengeance he had against his former business partners. He found joy and peace, even though he still had no source of income. Without going into the details, it was a miracle that Adam and his family survived this phase.
The deeper Adam got involved with God’s work, the greater was his blessings. He soon got a job at a very senior level in a major Government department. His salary was astronomical, much beyond his wildest dreams. Adam could finally begin his journey to financial recovery, one small step at a time.
Adam’s family members were blessed, his children secured places in prestigious educational institutions and many other things were restored one by one. He could finally clear his debt and salvage his name in society. But the greatest blessings in Adam’s opinion was his own spiritual healing and the opportunity to spread the joy and love of God to others.
The Current Times (2019)
It’s a long time since God restored Adam to a place much higher than the past but the message - “You do my work and I will do yours” is not lost on Adam and his family. They still continue to serve the Lord and His people, both spiritually and materially.
We humans cannot second guess how God decides to answer prayers but Adam’s experience clearly shows that God uses difficult situations in our lives to either test us or nudge us into cooperating with His will.
Adam’s experience is a manifestation of Matthew 6:33 - “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God's saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well”.