“My stomach dropped as I stared at the same prayer request I’d gotten 20 times. It was from a desperate mother asking us to pray that her son is freed from prison. Seeing her familiar handwriting and heartfelt plea, I couldn’t help but feel deflated. Every Wednesday, our prayer group lifted up the needs of our congregation to our Lord, but when I read so many repeated requests, I began to wonder: Are our prayers making a difference?
“We’d prayed over the same child battling cancer and for the same young couple who’d suffered yet another miscarriage. We’d prayed for the man who couldn’t find a job and the grief of a widow. It made me wonder if my words were helping at all. Jesus, do You answer prayers? I asked. Please show me!
“The following week, a woman from our congregation joined our group for the first time. She helped sort through the slips of paper almost as if she were hunting for something. Suddenly, she plucked one from the batch as tears glistened in her eyes. ‘Every week I wrote this request for my son to get out of prison,’ she said holding up her slip, my eyes lighting on her familiar handwriting. ‘My son hasn’t been released, but he was saved through the prison ministry. So my prayer was answered…he is indeed free!’
“I stared at her in awe as we all rose to hug her. I felt God’s loving hand on my shoulder and I realized prayer is not only powerful, but He always answers—it may just be in unexpected ways!”
—Melanie White, 55, San Diego