The sense I felt God stirring within me on the way home was: Get used to this. I had just experienced what I believe was my first prayer-induced instantaneous miracle. A big miracle? Not exactly. But I’ll take any miracle over no miracle. And hey–we have to start somewhere.
The boys got together for our traditional holiday basketball fest this morning. After we had wrapped up our 2+ hours of sweat-filled competition, in which us underdogs took five of seven games, we set out to drive home. Problem was, my car wouldn’t start. Power? Plenty. Interior lights worked, dings and stereo worked as well. And I hadn’t left any lights on.
Scott and Zac were still in the parking lot chatting a bit, so I asked Scott for a jump. And jump my car he did…but to no avail. I had plenty of power; seemed to be the starter maybe. But that wasn’t clicking like it usually does when it’s bad.
Scott asked for a hammer to tap the starter. I had heard of such things working. I gave him a socket wrench…and he took his best guess at where the starter is.
Tap. Tap. “Try that.” Nothing.
Tap. “Try that.” Nothing.
Tap. Tap. “Try that.” Nothing.
And we did that a few more times. Nothing worked. Same thing: plenty of power, but the pistons wouldn’t budge, let alone turn over.
So, Scott said: Well, should I drive you into town? I considered, then countered, “After we pray about it.” I then fled the scene like Napoleon Dynamite and headed to my trunk, wrapping the jumper cables as I went.
The phrase was simple enough. I had simply suggested we should pray about it. But for some reason, it seemed like a big deal to me. It seemed like a lot was on the line. I thought this through a bit as I stalled for time while hidden behind my open trunk lid, reflecting on the fact that the statement itself showed a bit of a lack of faith. I had suggested that Scott would be taking me into town after we prayed over my car…implying the prayer wouldn’t work, like a poorly cast magic spell.
I closed my trunk and came back to the front of my car. Why is praying for things so awkward? I thought.
“Well…how do you pray for a car?” I asked, noting that Scott had closed my hood. That deterred me from laying hands on the engine as I was planning on doing.
“Try starting it now,” he said. We hadn’t done anything yet, but for some reason, I did as he suggested. “Did you pray for it?” I asked as I opened my door. I almost chuckled as I heard his reply: “I think so.” How does one exactly think one’s prayed for something? It’s not exactly an ambiguous procedure.
Not convinced with Scott’s response, I prayed in tongues for a few seconds as I sorted my keys. I put the key in the ignition, closed my eyes, wrapped up the five second prayer and turned it.
And it started.
It started and with it I started laughing. I lowered my window and laughed louder, so Scott could hear me. He was laughing too. I then opened my door, stepped out and gave him a high-five and Jesus a shout of praise.
“That’s so awesome,” I said, laughing some more…laughing out of sheer (I hate to say it) surprise that this thing called faith and obedience can work. “I don’t know why I’m surprised!” I confessed and laughed even more.
“Did you pray for it?” I asked Scott. “I said ‘I believe,’” he replied. “I could feel unbelief rising up in me and I just said ‘I believe.’" So I then understood why he said “I think so.” It kinda was a half-prayer, half-belief statement. Whatever it was, I think it counted. I don’t think the enemy liked to hear Scott say “I believe.”
I now know why it felt like a big deal. That small, little miracle has started a fire under my faith-kettle…and probably for Scott, too. If that worked–and please don’t waist brain power trying to figure out a non-miraculous way for it to have worked–why wouldn’t praying for more things work? The possibilities are endless.
We’re both learning to live life completely differently. And it hasn’t been easy or without bumps along the way. We’re sons of conservative parents in a conservative community, raised in conservative churches and grew up with conservative friends. We attended a conservative college and read conservative books. I wouldn’t say any of these things were necessarily wrong in their conservative-ness. I don’t feel like I was raised poorly or have bad friends or went to a heathen college. That is certainly not the case.
But it just wasn’t the type of environment that fosters praying in tongues over a broken car. Who does that kind of stuff? I didn’t a year ago. If my car was broke, I took it to a mechanic. I’m not saying I will never return to a mechanic. And it won’t be for lack of faith that I do go to a mechanic. A mechanic just won’t be my first option. Just like a doctor is no longer my first option when I’m sick.
I share this because it’s terribly exciting to finally have a glimpse of what living a Biblical life can be like. For years, I thought I was one who had moved on from milk to solid food, as the Word talks about in 1 Corinthians 3 and at the end of Hebrews 5. Our men’s group was based on that principle, thus our name Jesus Loves Steak. But now I’m learning otherwise.
It’s like this past year has been a stepping-through-the-back-of-the-wardrobe type year. There’s a whole new land out there to explore and discover–a land that looks a lot more like the one described in the Bible I’ve been reading for years and years. A land with pine trees that have been pricking me and with cold air that has been causing me to shiver while standing in the wardrobe.
I knew it was there. I was just scared to death of it. Truth is, I still am a bit. The mysteries of this land are far too vast and wide to comprehend. Praying in new languages? Raising the dead? Casting out demons? Signs and wonders? Voices from heaven? Prophetic words from God? Visions? Being led by the Spirit? Walking by faith? “…the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do”? (John 14:12)
But I know that God is good. And the course he has me on is good. And while the current of the River might suck me under now and then and I might feel like I have completely lost control, I know the River empties into a land more beautiful and marvelous and wondrous than any land I could have hiked to on my own or found with a map and compass.