“It worked!” Martina said excitedly when I came back to the jail for our second visit. Last week, Martina had told me about her dilemma.
The only thing keeping her from being released from jail was the few hundred dollars she needed to pay for an electronic monitoring bracelet. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any money. She had tried to reach her father who lived out of state to ask for help, but when she called his phone number, no one ever answered. Then, aware of Martina’s circumstance, her cellmate offered her a postcard to contact her dad through the mail. After she shared her predicament with me last week, we prayed about it, and when I returned today, she was eager to share her good news. “My dad got the postcard,” she exclaimed. “He wrote me back to find out where to send the money.” I was happy and excited for her. Her three months stay in jail had an end in sight.
As we visited, I was reminded of the Bible verse that says God can do “immeasurably more than we could ask for or imagine.” Her plea for help was a bit of a longshot. Was the address she had for her father correct? If he got the postcard, would he be willing to help? The answer to both of those questions turned out to be “yes,” and Martina learned firsthand how prayers are not just words blown into the wind. We’re talking to our Father in Heaven who wants us to ask. He wants to answer. He wants to help. He can even strengthen our faith through our prayers. Prayer is such a beautiful thing and an amazing gift.
Of course, God doesn’t always answer our prayers with a “yes” which was the case for Trina. When I visited her upon my return to the jail, Trina said, “Our prayer last week didn’t work.” Trina had requested a prayer for her release. On my previous visit, I had explained to her who God is and that He has power. He knows what is best and loves each one of us more than we can imagine. Trina was new to learning about God and had a child-like mind and faith. So, she was disappointed and confused. Yet, she still wanted to join the group for Bible study. I asked the other women in the group if they had ever had that experience and what they would say to Trina. One young woman said, “He wants you to ask again.” Once again, she asked to pray for her release.
While it’s exciting to share in the joy with those whose prayers God answers with a “Yes,” it is also important to walk with those down the often frustrating and confusing path when God’s answer is “No” or “Later.” What a privilege it is to keep asking on behalf of those who take God up on his offer to come to him in prayer.