NOTE: If you like a photo of mine, with a very long description, and want to comment on the photo alone then go ahead; I do not expect people to read my extremely long descriptions to comment on my photos :)
PS: I viewed this photo from a university computer and I could hardly see anything--It is so dark! But on my PC it looks like a clear night shot! I think if you see it in a larger size it becomes clearer :)
In this project I would like to talk about prayer. Early in January of this year, 2008, I went to sleep very late around 4 in the morning because I was studying until then. As I put my head on the pillow I opened the curtains and this beautiful, warm, and white light from the moon entered my dark room. I looked up the window and I could see the moon, and whenever I see the moon I remember my future wife. I don’t know why exactly, but I think because I find the moonlight to be very romantic. That’s why I usually pray for her, even though I don’t know where she is or what she is doing, and pray for our kids too—I basically pray for my future family.
So I sat on the bed planning to pray for her but I remembered a friend I used to have and I thought she might needs my prayers so I decided to pray for her instead. As I looked in the mirror I thought to myself, “This might make a very good photo about prayer.” And so here it is! I hadn’t uploaded it until now because I wanted to talk about prayer and I didn’t have time to do so until now.
First I would like to start with little personal stories about prayers:
A couple months before Christmas of 2005 my heavenly Father asked me to go see a friend for the first time, but I didn’t want to! Not that I didn’t want to see that friend but because I have trich. I didn’t want that friend to see me with missing parts of my eyebrows and eyelashes. And so I prayed telling Him that I hate to disobey Him and that I want to obey Him and so to please make it easier on me by at least ease trich’s hold on me for those couple of months so I my eyebrows and eyelashes would grow a bit! Well, I thought it was a strange kind of prayers, I mean it was like telling the God of the universe that I would do something if He does something first! Challenging Him is usually not a good idea, but I was challenging Him I was more of begging Him. Somehow trich’s hold on me was very little through those two months, and when I went to see that friend my eyebrows and eyelashes looked almost normal.
I won’t comment much about the previous prayer because I don’t understand it myself. Does God give us momentarily relief from captivity? How does He really operate? What is His overall purpose? I don’t know…and I can’t answer those questions and many more. However, I am so thankful to Him for answering that prayer because that friend was my only friend ever after Jesus Christ.
One early morning in 2003, around 5 AM, I was praying before I headed to work, and I looked up through the window—which was strange because I was kneeling with my head down—and I saw two shooting stars, and it was like God asking me to ask for anything and He would do it! I knew I had to make a wish fast (I know this is not a Biblical teaching of wishing upon a star, but there is nowhere in the Bible where it says God will not speak in this way…I mean He spoke to Gideon through fleece and dew) and tens of things passed through my head but I knew somehow that I wanted to be more like Jesus more than anything else. And believe me it is difficult not to wish for a healing from trich or asking for my dad to come to Canada soon. But I wanted to pray a prayer that pleases God’s heart so that’s what I asked for. This prayer I can’t say is fulfilled yet. Jesus is perfect, and I am not anywhere near that, but I have given Him my life to the moment I die anyway.
One morning in 2005 I woke up a bit late and I had to rush to go to work because I have the buildings’ keys! Everybody would be waiting for me in the winter outside just so I would arrive and open the building! As I was sitting on the bus and my head is leaning against the window looking outside my heart was troubled and I told God that I wish that I had time to pray and read my Bible that morning. As soon as I said that a mini-van passed by the bus and stopped beside it on the red traffic light and on the back of it there were sayings such as, “Don’t worry, God is in control”, “Jesus loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you just the way you are”, and “be patient God is not done working on me yet!” It was as if God telling me that it is ok here are my daily dose of encouragement since I sincerely desired to read my Bible that morning.
In 2005 that same friend I mentioned above asked me to draw a picture of Jesus for her. Now I am not a professional artist, and I haven’t drawn in a long time but I promised that I would draw it for her because I had promised her that I would do anything for her as long as it was within God’s will. When she asked me that I was not sure I could do it, not that I didn’t want to do it. She wanted it to be drawn much bigger than I had ever drawn, and she wanted it framed and to look just as beautiful as the original picture! (By the way, here is the photo she wanted me to draw for her: www.devotions.co.uk/jesus_child.gif) So I prayed that God would show me—to encourage me—that I really could do it. I went to Wal-Mart with my mom on the weekend to buy a white Bristol board which costs only 97 cents. As I was reaching to get one I felt God telling me to not buy it! That was very confusing! I mean what is the value of 97 cents? My mom kept urging me to buy it and that she had come with me all the way to buy this and now I was going back without buying it! She didn’t understand why I didn’t buy it nor did I feel that I could explain it to her. Anyway, next week at work some co-worker was cutting boxes for recycling and found those 14 sheets of high quality Bristol boards inside one of the boxes and he didn’t know if they were for recycling or not so he brought them to me. I was stunned when I saw them! Over a dozen of perfect size and perfect type Bristol boards for drawing! It took me a year to finish the picture but it was by far the most beautiful thing I have ever drawn.
So you see, sometimes God doesn’t want us to do something not to necessarily save us 97 cents, but He wants to demonstrate His care about our concerns.
On February-22-2006 I had just left work going home and I saw an older lady carrying water bottles and we all know how heavy those can get, so I felt that God wanted me to ask her if she needed help. But I was in a hurry to go home and I rationalized by saying that she is almost there (I didn’t even know where is ‘there’ for her!), and that she looks fine (she didn’t look ‘fine’; nobody carrying heavy water bottles looks fine!), and that if she needed help she would have asked for it (but I made sure to walk away from the side walk she was on—how could she have asked for help?) Needless to say I felt miserable all the way home, and even when I went home and asked God’s forgiveness for disobeying Him I still felt uneasy inside. The next morning on the bus going to work I told Him again that I was sorry and that I wanted to make it up for Him. So as the bus stopped on the subway station and I entered the subway station and a lot of people were entering with me and more are coming out, a young man dropped his winter hat while he was running past me leaving the subway station! I immediately picked it up and run after him…after about 100 feet I saw him coming back because he had missed his buy and he was looking for his hat so I gave it to him.
If you happen to let God down ask Him to make it up for Him. We ask our loved ones to make it up to them, why shouldn’t we ask our Heavenly Father to make it up to Him?
In November of 2005 I went for my driving test and I had prayed before hand for God to help me pass it. My driving instructor and I were waiting for the examiner to arrive but she didn’t show up on time since I was her first test on that day—around 8:30 AM. She didn’t show up until 8:50 AM and I was kind of disappointed because I told my boss that I wouldn’t be late later than a specific time and she kind of made me late (not that my boss minded; he is an awesome boss). When she finally got in the car and took me around the roads she wanted and came back, she congratulated me and told me that I had passed. Then as my driving instructor drove me home he asked me where she asked me to drive and what driving skills to demonstrate. Then he said, “She didn’t ask you to do a parallel parking?!” And I realized that she didn’t and told him so. He said, “That’s the first time, or second time, ever I have a student passing the driving test without being asked to do parallel parking!” That’s when it hit me that God could’ve very much caused her to be late to spare me doing the parallel parking!
So if God seems late in answering a prayer don’t worry, but remember that He knows more than we do and He wants our best more than we do! He is a good God and He is in absolute control, but we have to let Him do His work!
Late in 2004 or early 2005 I was at Wal-Mart and I was looking through the WOW Worship collections to see if there is anything new I could buy. Somehow my eyes feel on an album called All About Love by Steven Curtis Chapman. I didn’t find anything I was interested in so I decided to leave, but as I was passing through the door I felt as if God was asking me to go back inside and buy that CD—All About Love! I was very reluctant but I went back in anyway. I told God that I tell Him that I want to obey Him, so why should I disobey Him in buying a CD that doesn’t cost more than $25…so I bought it. To be honest, I didn’t know if He really was speaking to me or it was just a feeling but since I couldn’t tell His voice for sure I decided to buy it just to be on the safe side of obeying Him!
When I went home I played it and I kind of like a song or two but skipped the rest because I didn’t like them. The second day I discovered that I like a couple more songs. The third day I was listening to it over and over again! Then I discovered that the artist is actually a Christian singer who made the CD for his wife on their 18 anniversary (I think). Some of my favourite love songs are on this CD. I can only hope that my future wife will like the songs on it too :)
So if God asks you to do something He always has your good in mind. Sometimes, like in this case, the good results were immediate, other times they take much longer, a life time, or we would never experience the blessings here on earth. Whatever He asks of you do it. If it takes courage, ask for courage. If it takes trust, ask for trust, but don’t settle for less than God’s best. Especially in what seems like a “trivial” matter; obedience is built up just like faith. And if we are disobedience in the little things how can He trust us with the bigger things?
When I was in high school I installed a program on my PC and when it required me to restart I did but I didn’t wait for it to finish the installation when it started up…I simply cancelled the job! My computer wouldn’t start after this! I tried for 3 days to start it up and it wouldn’t! I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to lose the work saved on my hard drive by formatting it. I also didn’t have a car to take it to a store for it being fixed, nor was it going to be cheap to do so. On the morning of the 3rd day I started it up again and it was checking the memory as it usually did before starting up and I said, “Come on God!” I immediately felt God telling me to press the “ESC” key on the keyboard before it finished checking the memory so I did! Windows started normally and my computer was working fine! Until today I don’t know why that worked or how else I was supposed to fix it without losing my work.
You see, God cares about the little things in our lives. Even when things seem little to us (it was not the first time I ever lost my work by having to format my hard drive!) but He does care. We must not lose focus of His ultimate goal: to be known by us. He already knows us but we need to know Him. I believe, faith, prayer, trust, obedience, being conformed to His likeness, and especially loving Him come after we start to know Him. There is simply no way we are not going to change if we truly get to know Him.
This is probably one of the most wonderful answered prayed I have ever experienced. You see for four years I worked in a warehouse as general labourer/forklift operator but inside me I wanted to design mechanical devices, to invent, to fix things! So in 2005 I started designing a new screwdriver after a new idea came to my mind at work! I came home and I got my graph paper, pencil, eraser, calculator and ruler out and started designing it. It took me few weeks of working on the design everyday after work until it came to almost completion however there was a little part that I could not design in a way that I was satisfied with. Day after day I would come back to this part and I simply couldn’t come up with anything that satisfied my objective of the design. So I went upstairs to my room and I knelt to pray asking Jesus to help me out and as soon as I told Him what was the problem an image sprung to my mind…the whole prayer didn’t take more than 10 seconds before the image sprung to my mind! I was about to jump out of my place and run downstairs but I wondered if God really cared about screwdrivers! So I continued in my prayer asking Him if He really cared about screwdrivers, and I immediately had an image in my mind of Jesus the Carpenter! It was if He was telling me, “after all I was a carpenter!” So I knew He cared about screw drivers.
I want to tell you to know in whatever you are facing and need help or encouragement but you don’t have anybody to help you, encourage you or support you that Jesus cares and is longing to help you out and be your encourager and supporter. He is so eager for you to run to Him. God wants to help us grow our talents if we are to honour Him with them.
On June 28, 2006, my mom asked me the night prior to buy her 5 bus tickets so the next morning I made sure I have 10$ with me to buy her the 5 tickets. A few seconds after I left home I remember that the price of the tickets had increased and now I need $10.50 to buy her 5 tickets, but I didn’t want to go back to the house because my bus was coming in a minute or two so I asked God to provide me with 50 cents…in my mind I was thinking to borrow 50 cents from a co-worker. A few seconds later as I reached the bus stop I looked down and I saw 25 cents on the ground so I picked it up and as I picked it up I saw another 25 cents a couple of feet away so I had my 50 cents! That was one of the quickest answered prayers!
God is interested in providing for us. No, that does not include playing the lottery or money falling from the sky, but it does mean that God works in extraordinary ways to provide for us as we seek His will and live obediently for Him. Our God is not only mighty, and unsearchable, but He is also a good God. I truly believe we should often sit down and think about what does the word ‘good’ mean, and what does a ‘good God’ mean.
I want to share this story with you about God’s goodness as told to me by my oldest uncle. My oldest uncle has had few back surgeries and he can’t walk straight, and can’t lift heavy weights or take the stairs because of that. He can’t stand or walk for a long time either. Back home he went to buy tyres for his car, a Nissan, from a shopping centre run by the government so the prices were much cheaper. As he arrived there the line was really long in front of the ‘Nissan’ window where he should get the coupons for his car. The line was so long that there were over 150 men standing and the line went all the way out and around the building. Because my uncle can’t stand for a long period of time he went to the front and asked a gentleman there if he could purchase his coupon first but nobody allowed him to go before them. It is kind of hard to believe since the window was not open yet and when you see my uncle you can obviously tell he has had back surgeries and has back pain. Anyway he decided to wait inside beside the window so that when everybody is finished then he would get his coupon since it was really hot outside. When the seller opened the window he put a sign that says ‘Toyota’ so everybody was confused and they asked where is the ‘Nissan’ lot and the seller pointed to a nearby window! So everybody run to the other window to be first in line! My uncle of course couldn’t run so he stayed beside the first window. Then the seller looked through his paper and realized he made a mistake and that his window was the ‘Nissan’ window and not the ‘Toyota’ window and so my uncle became the first in line!
Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
"Rise up, O LORD!
May your enemies be scattered;
may your foes flee before you."
There are other prayers that I did not include here because they deserve a photography project of their own. If you are wondering how do I know the dates to my answered prayers that’s because I write them down. I took this advice again from Dr. Charles Stanley and I find it very wise to follow because I can always reflect back on God’s faithfulness and I hopefully can share it with others.
Prayer is very important in our lives. We simply would not follow God if we don’t pray. How can we when we don’t give Him time to speak! And if we don’t think He is important enough to spend time with then why would we think He is important enough to follow Him—to carry our cross and follow Him!
I pray differently throughout the day. I have a specific time to spend with Him daily. I talk to Him throughout the day, and I cry out to Him whenever my heart is heavy.
If there is a person you are having hard time to forgive, you are bitter toward, someone who rejected you and treated you badly on purpose, some one who purposely hurt you and damaged you emotionally then pray for that person. I grantee you that you will not be bitter toward some one whom you pray for! You cannot be bitter toward someone who you genuinely pray for God’s best in that person’s life! A praying spirit is a free spirit. I know this from experience and until today whenever some one hurts me, especially some one hurts you on purpose just for the sake of hurting you, I start praying for them and believe me you won’t believe the relief you will experience in your spirit. You all actually be amazed…I mean you are suppose to be miserable and bitter but you are not!
Also a lot of us plan to leave our kids things: money, precious possession, memories, and so on. But I truly desire to leave my kids a godly legacy starting with God’s answers to my prayers. I do realize that I probably won’t be able to offer my wife and kids a lot of the things other men can offer their families, but that’s not my goal in life: what I want to offer them is a journey with the God. I want them when they grow up say: I worship, love, believe, trust, and follow the God of my dad, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham.
Dr. Charles Stanley says that the shortest distance between a problem and its solution is the distance between our knees and the floor. And I believe a peaceful heart is the number one answer we look for when we pray. He also says, and I believe, that God answers our prayers in 4 ways:
2) Yes, but wait.
3) No, I have something better.
4) My grace is sufficient for you.
Another thing Dr. Stanley has suggested to do is to praise God when we are troubled. I tried to do this but didn’t work…I mean I couldn’t just start praising God without really feeling like it. But a few months ago I saw the moon and I realized how much greatness of God it takes to put it there in place, and so ever since then until now when I come pray I start by reminding myself that I am talking to an almighty God. Amazingly this cut my prayers time in half and made me focus more on what He wants rather than what I want, because I am more aware now of that fact that He knows my needs and He can meet them. (No, I am not saying we shouldn’t make our requests known to God, but they should not be the only topic we talk to Him about.)
The past year was the hardest year in my life. I had never felt like I felt in it and I had never been tried as I was tried in it. No time made me doubt God’s good intentions toward me as much as last year had. So I used to come in prayer and babble this and that…and so my prayers were powerless and didn’t even give me the peace of knowing that God is taking of me. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t really know what it was and so I prayed asking God to fix my prayer life! A short time later I read a prayer of someone who said, “Lord when I come pray let me be the real me and talk to the real You”. The last bit really hit me because I realized I was not talking to the God of the Bible…to be honest, I don’t know who I was talking to. It is like going to someone you know and talk to them like they are completely someone else! How disrespectful and useless to do so! That’s why it is so important to know who is the God of the Bible from the Bible is so we know who are talking to. We don’t ask God to help us sin, obviously because we know from the Bible that God hates sin and He won’t help us do so. We must remember that God is a holy, perfect, pure, good, almighty, and loving God. We cannot separate His attributes as the God of the universe from who He is as our heavenly Father.
As you have noticed from my prayers above that nothing supernatural happened. Actually a sceptic would say all the things happened above are either by chance or delusions, but as a famous person once said, “Isn’t it amazing how incidents happen more often when I pray?!” That person was implying indirectly that may be after all they are not ‘incidents’ but answers to our prayers from our almighty God.
I encourage you to write down your prayers and share them with others, starting with your kids. Everything God does is worthy and good to share according to His will.