You Are An Answer To Prayer


Howard Hendricks tells a story he heard as a boy, a story told by Dr. L. L. Legters, a great Bible teacher of another generation. The tale centers upon Dr. Legters providentially bumping into a missionary on furlough who invites him to an emergency prayer meeting concerning a financial need. The need was fifty dollars. Upon agreeing to go, the men join others in prayer for this urgent need. Those praying were seated in a circle, and everyone in the circle was expected to pray. Not satisfied by the force of their praying the first time around, the group goes around a second time and a third time. It was then that Dr. Legters sensed the Spirit of God nudging him with these words: “Legters, what about those fifty dollars in your pocket?” Never one to delay the inevitable, the pastor interrupted a woman right in the middle of her prayer to inform the group that God had just answered their prayers, and he presented the fifty dollars.

In recounting the story, Howard Hendricks goes on to tell us that he can still vividly remember Dr. Legters pointing a long, bony finger at the congregation and saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is a dangerous thing to pray!

It is a dangerous thing to pray. Prayer requires involvement. We should never pray unless we are willing to get involved. Prayer is not about getting our will done in heaven but about getting God’s will done on earth, and God uses us to accomplish His will (Matt. 6:9–10; Acts 13:36; Col. 1:9–11; 1 John 2:15–17). We pray as servants, and as servants, we are ready and willing for God to use us in the answering of prayer. That is why when we talk to God about a matter, we better be ready for God to talk back about our role in that matter. There needs to be a “speak, Lord” in our speaking to the Lord (1 Sam. 3:10).

In the great passage on God’s ability to answer prayer above and beyond what we can ask or imagine, Paul acknowledges that that very power, that astounding and abounding ability, is mightily at work in Christians (Eph. 3:20). It is not a stretch to marry those two ideas and conclude that God often answers our prayers powerfully by working powerfully through His people. God’s ability to powerfully answer prayer often finds an outlet in our availability to be powerfully used by God, the God who works mightily in us.

Think about the many times in the Bible people became an answer to their own prayers. Think about Moses and how God used him to answer the cries of His people (including Moses) in their suffering (Ex. 3:1–10). Think about Nehemiah, who prayed about the needs of the people and city of Jerusalem and then offered himself as God’s servant to be used as a remedy (Neh. 1:1–11). Think about the disciples and how Jesus taught them to pray that God would send laborers into the harvest field of souls, and they answered that very prayer through their great commission endeavors (Matt. 9:37–38; 10:1–15; 28:18–20). Prayer ought not to be offered unless it is accompanied by the offering of ourselves as a means of answering it.

The greatest blessing in life is not to get an answer to prayer; it is to be an answer to prayer.