When life in my house was horrible, I often asked fellow Christians to pray for my marriage, but people who had been around and knew the ugly details would sometimes tell me, "I'm just going to pray that God helps you accept this." Frankly - to this day, I wonder what would have happened if they had prayed the prayer I ASKED them to pray. A few months ago a friend was complaining that her father-in-law had asked her to pray about getting a new car because his old one needed repair. When asked why that bothered her the friend said, "We shouldn't bother God with our petty problems." I laughed and said, "I bother Him about lost car-keys, and since they always, and I mean ALWAYS turn up the minute I open my eyes after the AMEN, I gather He doesn't mind finding them for me." But it really got me to thinking a LOT about prayer. During one of the darkest, most difficult moments of my life, the only thing that gave me the strength to get up and face each day was faith in God, and the knowledge that my children needed me. At times I would catch myself asking God if I could just go home to heaven because I just didn't know if I could make another day on this earth. During that time I ran into one of those "Friends of Job". You know the type. They tell you, "you must have done something to upset God." Hearing, day after day, that you must have done something so terrible that even merciful God has turned His back on you - can be quite a spirit crusher. I was beginning to feel 100% alone in the world, like I hadn't felt since before I came to Christ - when I lost my car keys. Now - that's never pleasant, but in this case, it was a TOTAL disaster. The supervisor I'd worked with for years had retired and his replacement was a coworker who I had never gotten along with. She tried several times to fire me since she took over, but I ~am~ a good employee, and never gave her grounds, and thankfully my employer is NOT "at will". Being late to work would have given her the leverage she needed. So I prayed. I'd looked for those keys on the hook where I keep them, and on the floor near the hook a dozen times that morning. I'd gotten down on my hands and knees. Then I prayed, and when I opened my eyes, there they were, at my feet. Now, I have no idea if I had really over looked them 12 times, or if God actually moved them. I didn't care. I knew, the very minute I saw them, I KNEW that my friends were wrong. I KNEW that despite how bad things looked, God WAS listening, He DID care, He DID still love me as much then as He did the day I was first saved. I KNEW I could get through the days ahead because He took the time to find my car keys. All day long I kept thinking, "If He cared about the keys, He cares about the situation at work, if He cares about the situation work, He cares about the health issues. If He cares about the health issues....." That was a few years ago. This morning I overheard someone else ask for prayer from that friend, I didn't hear the request, only the answer which was, "I'm sorry. I hope I don't offend you, but I don't pray for material things - ever." Well, I do. Its been a long month at our house from a financial perspective. There are things my daughter had to have for her new job, but the paycheck was not due, as far as we knew, for about 2 weeks. I was really worried about how to stretch my salary to the end of the month. So, I asked God to help me. Now, let me explain. I was thinking maybe God would open my eyes to some way to earn an extra $20 or $30. I was thinking small. God thinks in much larger terms than I do. I was supposed to receive a payment of about $300 on the 25th. Then my paycheck on the 29th. I have money in the bank, but frankly, its running very low, and I didn't want to go through a whole week of stressing over ever single penny between today and the 25th. I have insurance set up on automatic draft, but for reasons my agent never explains it varies from time to time, and the balance is low enough that variations are a tad nerve wracking, especially when gasoline is $2.24 a gallon. Then the person who was going to pay me on the 25th said something to me that indicated they were worried about how to get from the 25th to the 29th, indicating they got paid on the 29th. I said, "I thought the 25th was when you are getting paid." They said, "No." I said, "Then paying me the $300 on the 25th is going to put a burden on you?" They hemmed and hawed. I said, "Look, why don't you pay me PART of what you owe when you can, and the rest on the 29th? Would $100 put a burden on you?" They said, "Are you kidding me? You could wait for $200 of it?" I said, "No, I'm not kidding. I can get by with less than the $100 too, if you need me to. I have money in my accounts, its just very tight, and I have that "uneasy" "what if something comes up feeling." The person said, "Well, that's fantastic! I'll give you $100 tonight, and the rest on the 29th! Thank you so much! Now I don't feel so nervous about my trip." BUT - it doesn't stop there! My daughter wanted to do something this weekend, but I simply didn't have the money. It has been a really hard month on her emotionally, and I really, really wanted her to be able to do this with her friends, but I just couldn't help her. A few seconds ago I got a call from her. This is a new job, and they told her it only paid once a month, but they realized she had worked almost a full month with no paycheck because of time schedules, so they cut a check early for her. To her surprise the check was larger than she had expected. Large enough, in fact, to pay off what she owed me, pay off the amount of her tutition that was not covered by her scholarships, and allow her money left over to do the things she had been hoping to do. So God provided well above and beyond our needs.