Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FAQ # 10 The Last Straw

"I've prayed and prayed and prayed. I've poured my heart out to God, and still I get no answer. What's wrong?" 

Desperation, hopelessness, and discouragement fill the spaces between the lines in the e-mails I have received. Do I have an answer for them? While only God can answer their prayers, I do have some encouragement. It's the hand. 


More than 10 years ago I felt led to make a hand. Despite arguing with God that I am not an artist let alone a sculptor, the idea would not leave me. After two years of periodically visiting hobby stores trying to figure out what to make it with I finally sent up this exasperated prayer, "God, I will look one more time at the craft store. If You don't show me how to make this hand, I give up."

My eyes scanned the rows of modeling clay as I prayed, "Lord, please show me." A green box I had never seen before caught my eye. The clay inside the cellophane window was flesh colored. That's what I needed! "Good for making a hand" was written on the box!

The clay sat on my dining room table for weeks before I had the courage to begin. My first attempts were pitiful. But there was no turning back. I had my assignment, and it needed to be done with excellence. "Lord, I can't do this. Please make this hand through me," became my plea every week.

Six weeks later the hand was ready to be cured in the oven. Not bad, I thought. At least I can cross that off my list.

Two weeks later someone stopped by unexpectedly. The topic of creativity came up, and I showed her my hand. "That's for a teaching," she said.

Teaching? What teaching? Two weeks after that I was given the opportunity to speak to my daughter's seventh grade Christian studies class. "Lord, what do You want me to speak about?" No answer. Every prayer met with silence. The morning of the class I still had no topic. In desperation I prayed, "Lord, I am going to close my eyes and take a short nap. I will only speak on what You tell me to say, so please show me. I am exhausted praying about this!"

Within minutes of closing my eyes I saw a white board with six words written on it:

                         I can't
                         He can
                         He will

I knew it concerned the hand. Quickly I wrote out the story of the hand with just enough time to drive to my daughter's class.You could hear a pin drop as I explained that God's assignment was impossible for me. "I'm not an artist. I'm not a sculptor. I couldn't make this hand, so I asked God week after to week to make the hand through me."

Then I pulled out the hand. The students passed it around marveling at the fingernails, the veins, the knuckles.

"I learned that when I can't, He can, and He will.

Which brings me to the original point of this story. If praying day after day, week after week produces more and more anxiety, and silence is the only answer I get, I write the issue on a scrap of paper, roll it into a ball and put it in God's hand citing Psalm 37:5*. My prayer sounds something like this:

"Lord, I commit this issue to you according to Psalm 37:5. I trust that You will answer in Your timing. Thank You for Your answer."

Then I stop praying! That's right. I forget the issue and get busy doing whatever tasks are at hand. I never pray about it again. And God always answers. His peace carries me through and all anxiety leaves as soon as I deposit my prayer in His hand

*This idea came from Joy Dawson's book, The Fire of God.

Takeaway Points:
  • When you have reached a point where praying just makes you more and more anxious, commit the issue completely to God, thank Him and stop praying.
  • Write your problem on a piece of paper and put it in 'God's hands' - you could use a mug or a small saucer to represent giving it to Him.
  • Trust that He will answer in His timing.






14 comments:

  1. Sincerely I am having issues and I laid on the bed and was saying in my mind "this is the hand of the enemy, what do I do?" I opened my online bible meditated of the word Luke 1:70-75 ..There is a hand there...and just felt like opening FB a and there you are with this. I have been waiting to read from you.
    Am looking out for His hand on this.

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  2. Chukwuemeka A - Nothing escapes God's notice. His eye is always upon you. Let His Word fill you with faith as you wait to see His hand move on your behalf. Blessings, Jane

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  3. thank you Jane. I purchased your book a while back, but felt led by His Spirit to read your post. The simplicity and Awesomeness of His Love. This is the 2nd year I have been trying to sale this house, it is beautiful but their is a boulevard not too far and some potential buyers find it too noisy. However, the Lord is teaching me the same thing you shared to Pray, Trust, Expect and Worship Him for His Love.

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    1. I am so glad the post spoke to your specific circumstance at just the right time - God's time. Blessings to you and I pray your house sells. Jane

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  4. Thank you so much for this post Jane...now I understand why my prayers are not answered some times and how to get answers to those prayers....tons of thanks for posting your real time experiences...God blesss you n

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    1. You are so welcome. I only place a prayer request there when to pray any longer simply increases my stress and it is time to let it go and leave it in His hands. Blessings...Jane

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  5. Jane, such an inspiring story. I absolutely love it.

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    1. Thank you so very much. You can see in the hand all the prayers I placed there over the last ten years or so. God has been faithful every time. Blessings...Jane

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  6. I think that might be the first time I've heard the advice to stop! In my case, I'm still rather lost about what I'm doing next but in less than 30 days I'll need His answer. Career transition...I have no desire to go back to some regular "job" because it doesn't fit any of my strongest convictions. However...despite prophetic words & my own seeking etc, I've got a total zero for the next step... Either I've completely missed something very big or there is one heck of a surprise answer coming so I can do what I really want. Hmm...I remember Jane, you didn't go back to your career either because God prepared you for your current calling... I didn't come this far these last 9 months to go "backwards" either (at least that's how it would be for me). So...this is going to be interesting when this month ends... I say less than 30 days cuz that's when my bank acct hits zero!!

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    1. Hi Chris,
      If you have said 'yes' to God and are committed to doing whatever He asks you to do (no strings attached), and if you are listening for His directions every day you probably have not missed it. You can always ask, "Lord, have I missed Your directive?" Then sit and listen. If you do not receive any guidance, then I encourage you to spend each day in praise and worship and thanking Him (in advance) for what He will show you and how He will provide for you. It may seem awkward to thank Him before receiving your breakthrough but it is an act of faith and trust. I just spoke with a young man who prayed for two years for God to direct him as to his future work/study. No answer. Then he took his guitar, went to his room and began praising God every day. His answer came shortly thereafter. Praise and worship is a great way to enter into God's presence. Praying for you, Chris. Blessings...Jane

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  7. Hi Jane. God brought a buyer for the house. But, I have been sharing with my friends that one of the best part is listening, obeying, trusting while waiting for the manifestation of His answers. I wanted to share the update to encourage others.....At the beginning of the year I heard Him say .

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    1. Thank you so much for your update. Praise God your house sold. I love what you said - the best part is listening, obeying and trusting while waiting for His answers. So blessed by your comment. Blessings...Jane

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  8. Hi Jane please pray for me. I'm not able to take any decisions and donno what step to take next. I'm from non believer family. I'm praying for my parents to know God. But my parents just hate Christians. My boy friend is Christian. By him I know God. Will you pray for my parents that they will know JESUS and believe him and trust in him. Now should I tell my dad, about my love? We were in love since 3years. I have guilty that I didn't tell about my love to my parents. Im scared that they may beat me up.
    Can you ask god, what is there in his will.

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    1. Hari - God promises us that He will give us wisdom when we seek Him with all our heart. He guides us with His love and peace, not guilt. Guilt comes from the enemy of our souls and we do not want to make decisions based on feeling guilty. He will answer your prayers for wisdom as you continue to seek Him and put Him first in your life (read Matthew 6:33). I encourage you to read Psalm 91 out loud over yourself every morning. If you have not already done so, ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and to live in your heart and ask to be filled with His Holy Spirit. I pray for wisdom every day in order to make decisions. When the Holy Spirit lives in you, you can ask Him to give you wisdom and guidance. Blessings...Jane

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