And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8 (NASB)
Many years ago, my son had a little aquatic frog. He had raised it, literally, from a tadpole and loved it. “Froggy” would delight us by appearing to clap his hands when fed, moving the food into his mouth. Unfortunately, Froggy was a messy eater and the water in his little aquarium needed to be changed often. Froggy had to be caught in a net and kept in another bowl while the aquarium was cleaned and refilled. This was usually my son’s job.
Well, one day Froggy’s home was very dirty. We just had not had time to deal with it. Now my son had to run to school and I was late for work. But, it just couldn’t wait any longer, so I promised him that I would clean out the aquarium before I went to work. I was really late though, so I thought, “I’ll just pour some of the dirty water off the top and add some clean water for now.” Unfortunately, as I tipped the aquarium into the sink, Froggy jumped out, flopped around a couple of times in the sink and went right down the drain.
I was aghast. I can’t even think of a word to describe how horrible I felt. My son’s little Froggy, that he loved so much – gone! And all my fault! I fell to my knees and cried out one word, “Jesus!” And Jesus was instantly at my side.
Now I need to flashback a week or so. The pipe around the S-trap under that sink had been leaking badly and my husband finally had some time to work on it. But the pipes were old and rusted together. He worked all day to remove the S-shaped pipe. It could not be cleaned and reused, and he was exhausted. While he took a break, I headed to the hardware to get a replacement. “Be sure to get another metal one,” he called after me (we were restoring an old house and my husband is a purist).
However, at the hardware I was told they did not have any metal S-traps in stock right now, but they did have some very nice PVC traps with easy twist-off and on slip-nuts. Just wanting to be done with it, I bought the PVC pipe. My husband wasn’t very happy, but he screwed the trap on and turned on the water. Voilà, no more leak! Done.
So, a week later as I cried out on my knees, I felt Jesus presence there beside me and I felt Him say, “Look in the S-trap.” I jumped up, easily unscrewed the trap, and looked in. There was Froggy looking up accusingly at me. I carefully moved him to a separate, safe container, and cleaned the aquarium the right way. It wasn’t until I was on my way to work – praising God, very late but not caring one bit – that I realized what God had done.
He had known I would do this dumb thing and He had heard my one-word prayer before it ever entered my mind to say it. And He had answered it, a week ahead of time. He had done it using an irritating leaking pipe and a very long frustrating day (which included not a few grumblings and complainings). I would never have been able to remove the rusted pipe myself. Froggy would have been gone and my son would have been heartbroken. But God cares, God hears, God knows what we need before we even ask Him, God answers!
Thank you, Lord, that you know what we need before we even know or ask. Help me to remember your answers to prayer. Help me, in the midst of troubles and problems, to be on the lookout for an answer to a prayer not yet needed or said. Help me know that, though I can’t see it, you are always working for my good in everything. Thank you that you are always here with me.
Photo by David J. Stang [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xenopus_laevis_4zz.jpg