This is a true story about praying for my son just to “shut him up”. What happened next shocked us both …
When my son was 11 years old he hurt his ankle quite badly. The doctor sent him for X-rays fearing it was broken, but it was severely sprained. It was his second day home from school, and my second day home from work looking after him. He and I are not good at sitting still, and even worse when we feel like caged animals. We were like bears with sore heads. It was only a matter of time before one of us ran out of patience with the other.
Due to intense boredom, I cooked us all a steak for dinner. In case you are wondering, I am renowned for not being a good cook. (See my post The Sausage Casserole that was banned for life! for proof.) I hadn’t cooked steak in over 10 years, but I was older and wiser now; surely it couldn’t be too hard, could it?
It was; the steak was a disaster. And truth be known, even I had sore jaws after sawing through it! But son’s patience was up. It started with “Mum, I have a sore tooth.” Then, “Mum, I HAVE A SORE TOOTH!” I replied “Try using dental floss” and “Go brush your teeth”. He went on, and on, and on; as did I. I was trying to load the dishwasher and his harping was severely grating on my nerves. Finally I exploded “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?”
He raised his voice right back at me and said “WELL … YOU COULD TRY USING YOUR JESUS HANDS!” “Fine. Go down to my bedroom. I’ll be there in a minute.” He literally hopped down the hallway, trying not to let his sore foot touch the floor. I really should have gotten him crutches.
I chuckled to myself “Jesus hands? Where did he learn that?” In fact, it really tickled my fancy. You see, I am the only Christian in my home. My husband and sons are not on that journey with me. Yet. But they know that I love to go to Church and pray for others, and they have seen me pray for people, including them, when they have needed it. It seemed son needed it now. I certainly was not going to refuse.
I met him in my bedroom and lovingly cupped his face within my hands. We both closed our eyes, and for a few minutes, I prayed out loud. I must admit, my prayer really sounded quite good, even to me. It sounded like real poetry! Anyway, my prayer finished and I asked him “How does your tooth feel?”
He prodded and poked, opened his jaw, closed it again, put his angry eyebrows into action and said “IT’S STILL SORE! That’d be right! Healing doesn’t work!” He was not impressed. Oh well, thought I, I’m not magic, if he hasn’t been healed, it’s not my fault.
He stormed out of my room and stomped up the hallway. I ran to my open bedroom door and looked at him, completely stunned. I yelled at him “STOP!” He stopped and turned to look at me. I had the biggest grin on my face imaginable. He said “What?”
“What’s happened to your ankle?”
He marched on the spot. He looked down at his feet. He walked up and down the hallway a few steps. He jumped up and down. “It’s healed.”
I looked quite cocky. I couldn’t help it. “Oh, healing doesn’t work does it?”
He stuttered … “Well, Well … I didn’t ask Him for that, did I?” And off he stormed again.
I couldn’t stop smiling all day.
The lesson I learned that day:
When God answers our prayers, he gives us what we need, even more than what we want. Sometimes he gives us what we haven’t even asked for. If we just step out and pray for others, we don’t need to worry about “sounding” like a prayer warrior, or like a poet, or be amazingly articulate. We are just called to step out. Pray. He will do the rest. I need not feel prayer pressure ever again.