God Or A Genie?

Genie in a bottle

What are you expecting when you pray?


We had not seen a good friend for several decades. Recently he was traveling from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to Helena, Montana. He had gotten an hour and a half late start to his trip.

On the same day Joanie and I were going from Idaho Falls, Idaho on our way north to Kalispell, Montana. We, however, had left sixteen hours ahead of our planned departure. All three of us planned on stopping for dinner in Missoula, Montana.

Our hostess sat us in the back section of a crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant and two minutes later she brought our friend back to our section and seated him at the adjoining table! We peered at each other in disbelief. What an amazing and pleasant coincidence!

Now here’s the teaching point in all this for me. For some time now I have been specifically asking God to put eternal meaning, spiritual appointments and divine timing into each day. Yet when He did it, I was astounded and surprised.

A bit like the Apostle Peter’s friends who were praying for his release from jail on trumped up charges. When an angel miraculously assists his jail break and he makes his way back to the prayer meeting, he is eyed through the peephole by a girl named Rhoda. “Peter’s here!” she excitedly proclaims. And their response to the answer to their prayer?

“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”

Acts 12:15 New Living Translation

If we were rubbing a magic lamp waiting for it to disgorge a genie … we’d have a right to be taken by surprise. But we shouldn’t be surprised when God responds to our prayer. Could our astonishment at answered prayer be connected in any way with a lack of faith on our part? Why pray if we really don’t expect anything to come of it?

 But isn’t prayer just the arrival of a ‘coincidence?’ I love the simple faith of Richard Trent, archbishop of Dublin when a skeptic labeled answered prayers as simply coincidences. “It could be,” he said politely and with a smile. “All I know is that when I pray I have lots of coincidences and when I don’t pray I rarely have any.”

This week … if you believe enough to pray then believe enough to expect the answer!

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find.

Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7 New Living Translation

Did you know that you can purchase the 365 days-a-year devotional “Fresh Heart For a New Day” in the Kindle version? You can carry the book around wherever you go on your iPhone, iPad or other smart phone. Check it out on Amazon.

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