by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd
Some years ago, my new acquaintance, ‘Melissa,’ and I met for the first time at the hotel registration desk, because we were to be roomies at a conference that weekend.
A few minutes later, as we pulled our luggage into our hotel room, Melissa realized her purse was missing. She quickly called the front desk.
“No ma’am, we do not have a purse here,” the gentleman told her.
Tears filled Melissa’s eyes and she turned to me. “What will I do without my wallet? How will I get back through security at the airport?”
“It’s time to pray,” I said as I bowed my head. “Help Melissa find her purse!” I cried to the Lord. “In fact, we thank you in advance.”
Melissa snapped, “I don’t approve of that.”
I looked up, alarmed. “Approve of what?”
“Thanking God before he answers. I won’t do that.”
“Well,” I said. “I love to thank God in advance, to show I’m trusting him…”
“No! You are being presumptuous.”
A knocked sounded at the door and Melissa swung it open as she continued to reprimand me. “I will have no part in a prayer like that.”
The bellhop held up her purse. “Does this belong to you?”
Melissa turned and stared, dumbfounded. “Yes, where did you find it?”
“It slid into one of the potted plants next to the front desk.”
Melissa quickly pulled out her wallet to find nothing was missing.
I quietly thanked the good Lord, for answering my prayer even as I prayed it. I understand not everyone jumps onto the same prayer bandwagon as me, ‘the prayer lady,’ but let’s consider: is it wrong to thank God before he answers?
Look no further than Philippians 4: 6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I believe this is important, because our prayers should not be a way we test God. Our prayers should be an expression of trusting God. For this much I know, even if God had not answered my prayer for Melissa, he would have helped Melissa make it through her travels without her purse. So my thanks is an expression of trust, no matter how God answers.
My prayer was not a test to see how much God loved Melissa. His love for Melissa is a given. Neither was I testing God to see if he would obey me. No way. My prayer was simply a request to the one I love, the one who loved me first.
What request do you need to ask God today? Thank him, even before he answers. For after all, he hears you, he loves you, and he is moving in answer to your prayers even before you pray.
Thank you God! And thank you Melissa. I’m glad God answered my prayer, and I’m glad you found your purse.
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15 NASB
About the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know. She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the publisher
of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.
The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.
With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.
Join the conversation: How has God come through for you with an answer to prayer?