Ministerial Memos

Not Sure I Like the Results of This Answer to Prayer
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 by Dan Allen

There were many people in my ministry whom I have admired for a variety or reasons, but one for something a bit odd. George, a retired prison guard, could survive on three or four hours a night of sleep. He’d stay up late to watch a ball game on the west coast and then was up early to begin his day. Oh, how I wished I could be like George.

Sleeping, to me, although absolutely necessary to repair and rebuild the body—beautifully designed by the Creator—is a royal waste of time (Sorry, God. Just my opinion. Please don’t take offense). There is so much more that I could be doing if I didn’t need eight hours a night—people to see, books to read, sermons to prepare, articles to write, radio and TV manuscripts to put together, etc., etc. If only I could work at home into the early morning hours and then get up to take the kids to school and start my day, life would be great!

Oh, I tried the staying up and working late—did that for many years. But getting up early . . . not so much. There were many mornings in which I drove the kids to school with one eye slightly closed and, after returning home, both eyes shut tight in bed. My functionality was not at top performance until about 11 in the morning. But I was sharp then and at night until midnight or 1 A.M.

Well, I don’t know if it is the jet–lag still speaking (returned a week ago from a month in southeast Asia), but I’ve been living on just six hours or less of sleep at night (with a required nap in the early afternoon). I’m getting up earlier. Not often staying up until midnight, although I did so last night and woke up at 5 A.M. Fortunately, I was able to fall asleep until 6:30. But then I had to get up. Sleep had fled and was hiding somewhere under the bed. I couldn’t find it and this disappointed me. I could no longer sleep. It was Saturday. Vonnie was still asleep, why couldn’t I? But isn’t this what I wanted, I thought. Isn’t this what I prayed for?

As one gets older, according to people in the know, folks tend to have a harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep. So my prayer has been answered . . . I guess . . . and I’m not sure I like the answer.

Prayer is a tricky thing. The Bible commands us to do it, yet God is sovereign. Why pray if God’s will is going to be done? Well, for one, there’s a dependence thing going on as we rely on our Heavenly Father. He’s not some great cosmic Santa Claus handing out presents, but rather, is a loving, gracious Father who desires to bless us, to give us what we ask as He works all things together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In addition, God gets glory as He answers our prayers according to His will. 

The answers to prayers vary from “yes,” to “no,” and even “wait a bit.” All, again, are according to His design. Fortunately, He does not always give us what we want. In fact, in retrospect, it’s often discovered that had He—it would have been a disaster. “Father Knows Best” may have been a good radio and TV program in the middle of last century, but Robert Young could not hold a candlestick to our Heavenly Father who truly knows best. He’s able to see the beginning from the end. He knows all. 

So, in confidence I go to Him in prayer, praying for His will—realizing that this is exactly what He will do. It’s a win-win. So, maybe He did answer my particular prayer . . . see me in another week. Right now it’s time for a nap.

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