I’ve never made headline news. I prefer to lead a quiet and simple life below the radar. However, today we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the day God catapulted my bold prayer request from the quiet pages of my prayer journal to headline news.
A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia on August 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm. Read more about this historic event on the US Geological Survey and Roanoke Times websites.
Prior to August 2011 my daily prayers had been general, safe, possible, and to be honest— boring. I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that “general” and “possible” prayers don’t stir God to action. I’m not suggesting we skip blessing the food we eat or praying for the safety of our family. But I am suggesting if we only confine our prayers to what we think is realistic, we shrug off the belief of God’s ability to perform the unimaginable in our lives.
In August 2011, my husband’s company went on strike. During the beginning of the 14 day strike my prayers were what you might expect, “Lord, please provide a quick resolution. Lord help with attitudes. Lord we need help with the bills. Lord, please let the strike end in time for the kids to start back to school.” My prayers consisted of begging and pleading. I even went so far as to try to help God out, giving Him some ideas, as if he needed my help. (Oh, I have so much to learn.)
On day eleven of the strike I changed my approach. Rather than telling my God the size of my circumstance. I reminded myself of the enormity of my God. I recited Scripture and thanked God in advance for who He is and what He will do. Below is a copy of my journal entry for August 17, 2011 at 11pm:
Day 11 of strike. Today Lord, I’ve taken a new approach on praying for the strike. David didn’t say “Oh I’m scared look how big Goliath is.” Nope, he said “Look how BIG my GOD is!” Lord, I know you hold it all in the palm of your hand. Nothing…nothing…nothing happens without it first being filtered through your fingers.
· The earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Your kingdom rules over all -Psalms 103:19
· Lord, do not be silent, do not sit still- Psalms 83:1
· Evening, morning, noon I cry out in distress and He hears my voice -Psalms 55:17
· Cast my cares on the Lord – Psalms 55:22
· But as for me, I trust in you- Psalms 55:24
· I know my God is for me- Psalms 56:9
· Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor me – Psalms 50:15
· Be still and know that I am God – Psalms 46:10
After eleven days of praying logical prayers, I changed my approach. I dreamed and prayed beyond the boundaries of the possible into the realm of the impossible—the realm where God resides. Adrenaline raced through my veins, jumping synapses and connecting axons and neurons in lightning speed. From my red chair I special ordered the impossible as I prayed for a natural disaster, specifically an earthquake.
“Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.”
– Mark Batterson author of The Circle Maker
Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach the throne of grace boldly with confidence to find the grace we need in time of help. I believe when I changed how I approached the throne of grace, and boldly requested the impossible, God was stirred to action. When we circle unimaginable prayers, God is inclined to respond. Why? When there is no way on earth, the answer to our prayers may occur, God steps out of heaven to answer. God does not share the glory with another.
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11, NASB)
My life was forever changed on August 23, 2011. My daily devotion time with God had been pushed back to a lunch date at Panera. Surrounding the Fuji apple chicken salad was my Bible and prayer journal. I ate in silence scribbling in my prayer journal the ways God had answered each specific need while my husband was on strike.
After I changed my approach to prayer from begging to praising, we began to see prayers answered and attitudes improve. We continued to tithe to church although as the strike continued it became increasingly tempting to keep the money. Each Sunday when we wrote the check, I prayed “Lord, I know you will provide, because we cannot out give you.” God did not let us down. Over the fourteen day strike we instead of receiving bills, we were mailed statements of credit of overpayment several times. God is so good!
The strike was declared over on August 20, 2011. Even the timing of when my husband was to return to work was God ordained. Normally, he doesn’t have the opportunity to participate in the first day of school excitement. But since he was to return to work on the second days of school, he was able to walk the kids to the classroom on the first day. Again, another answered prayer!
I was eating and writing prayers of thanks when my phone chirped interrupting my thoughts. The text message from a friend read:
“If you need to reach me call my cell. The home phone is out from the earthquake.”
What earthquake? Suddenly the other outdoor tables buzzed with excited talk and I could overhear snippets of conversations about a Virginian earthquake and no injuries. Virginia had experienced its first significant earthquake since the 1800’s. Apparently, because I was driving at the time of quake I did not feel the earth move.
Stunned, I sat motionless unable to comprehend magnitude of my bold impossible prayer. While my husband was on strike, I had prayed three different times for an earthquake. Three different times I prayed for a natural disaster where no one was injured. I thought if a natural disaster occurred it might force the company to end the strike sooner.
The magnitude of my God quaked within my heart and I began to cry. God had already answered my prayers regarding the strike and now He was showing off. God chose to answer my bold specific prayer with a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Thousands of people along the East coast felt the tectonic plates shift. God’s word says He can move mountains, but I get to take it personally.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20, NIV)
I boldly prayed for an earthquake with no injuries and God replied “Yes, April I hear your prayers! And this is what I can do because I AM GOD!”
April Dawn White