A little girl’s prayer. Isaiah 65: 24. “Before they call, I will answer.”
A friend of mine, who lives in Florida, has a daughter. When the daughter was 5 years old, she was kneeling at her bedside for her nightly prayer. She ended her prayer saying, “And please, God, take away this awful cold. Amen” As she got into bed, she sneezed. “Oh, my goodness!”she said, “I’ve got another cold!” Such is the faith of some children in the power of prayer.
I would like to share a story, taken from a personal testimony of Dr. Helen Roseveare, a British missionary to Zaire, Africa.*
She said that she and her helpers had tried hard to keep a young mother alive when she had given birth to a premature infant. But their best efforts failed and the young mother died, leaving the infant and a 2 year old daughter.
The clinic did not have an incubator or even the electricity to run one. Nor did they have any special feeding equipment for a premature infant. All they had was a special box in which to place the baby and some cotton material to wrap it in. Although they lived on the equator, the nights could be chilly and windy.
One to the doctor’s helpers went to stoke up the fire and fill the hot water bottle. She came back shortly in great distress. As she was filling the hot water bottle, it burst. The African climate is hard on rubber goods. There was no back up for the bottle and no store anywhere nearby that would have such an item. They slept close to the infant all night to keep it warm.
The next day at noon, Dr. Roseveare went over to the orphanage, as was her practice, to have prayer with the children. Among the things that she suggested for them to remember in prayer was the situation with the baby and the 2 year old daughter. One of the girls – 10 year old Ruth – said, “And, God, please send us a hot water bottle for the baby. It has to come this afternoon. It want do for it to come tomorrow or the baby might die!. And also, please send a dolly for the little girl so that she will know that you love her.”
The doctor cringed when she heard Ruth’s audacious prayer. She knew that God can do anything, but that the only way that it was likely to happen was by someone sending her a parcel from her homeland. But she had been on the mission field for almost 4 years and had never received a single parcel from anyone. Anyway, if someone were to send a parcel, it would not likely have a hot water bottle, for this was, after all, equatorial Africa.
Half way through the afternoon, as she was teaching at the nurses’ training school, someone came and said that there was a car stopped at her front door. By the time she got there, the car was gone. But there was a large box at the door. She was amazed but thrilled. She could not possibly open the box without the children being present, so she sent for them to come.
Together they untied the strings and carefully removed the paper. Inside, on top of everything, were brightly colored jerseys. The children’s eyes sparkled as Dr. Roseveare gave out the shirts. There were some knitted bandages for the leprosy patients. 30 pairs of eyes were focused on the box as a large container of raisins was brought out. That would make some good bread for the week end. Then the doctor reached in and felt. Could it really be? She pulled out a hot water bottle. She cried. She had not taken seriously Ruth’s prayer. She had not truly believed that God would do this!
Ruth rushed up, yelling, “If God sent the bottle He must have sent the dolly too!” Rummaging around in the bottom of the box, she pulled out a small, beautifully dressed dolly. Ruth had never doubted. Looking up at the doctor she said, “Can I go with you to give the dolly to the little girl, so that she will know that Jesus really loves her?”
Because of mailing conditions, the doctor estimated that the parcel had been on the way to Zaire for several months. These things had been packed up by the doctor’s former Sunday School class, whose teacher had heard the promptings of God to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. One of the class members had even put in a dolly for an African child. This had all been done months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a 10 year old girl to “bring it this afternoon!”
God is not contained in time as are you and I. He is not hindered by the fact that one thing came before another. God sees all things as though they are happening now. He knows what you will need even before you realize it yourself. That is another reason that we should not be afraid. As we face each day, let us get into the habit of trusting God to provide, just as He does for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
Let us pray: “Father, You know what we will face today. You know what we will need before we even know that we need it. Please give us this day, our daily bread, and whatever else that You think we will need. We will give You our thanks in Christ’s name. Amen.”
* This story can be found on the Internet at: http:///www.allaboutgod.net/profiles/blogs/god-does-answer-prayeramazing