As parents, my wife and I try to help our kids see the power of God revealed through prayer. When the kids were young, we said prayers with them and tried to make a big deal of how and when God answered. At times we even wrote our family prayer requests on a large sheet of paper stuck to the refrigerator, and then, when God answered we would write down the way He answered, put the date He answered and then we would all celebrate and thank Him for His Goodness. We want our four kids to see His power and love displayed in answered prayer.
This plan to teach our kids to pray was going great when my young son decided he wanted a dog. He prayed faithfully and fervently with my wife for weeks at bedtime prayers for that dog. I, however, had just become the senior pastor of a church that had recently survived an ugly split and with four young children, my plate was pretty full. In my selfishness I justified not getting a dog because I didn’t have a lot more time or energy to add “pet care” to my “to do” list. So, thinking that I would eliminate the possibility of adding a new canine family member, I said. “Well the only way we are getting a dog, is if God puts one in our backyard.” I felt extra assured that would not happen because the church had just built a 4 foot high chain link fence around the parsonage backyard. My son, however, was not shaken, he knew that God answers prayer, so he redoubled his prayer efforts.
Then you know what happened? I woke up one morning and looked out the back door and there, right in the middle of the backyard, inside the fence, was a medium sized black dog that looked like a small wolf. Of course, I did a double take and said to myself, “I don’t see a dog in my backyard,” thinking maybe that if I denied seeing it, said dog it would disappear. So, I hoped that maybe the dog would just go away. But my son looked out the door and said, “that is the dog I’ve been praying for!” “God sent my dog!”. I reluctantly put some water out for the poor mutt that had obviously been on the streets for a while. My animal-loving wife could do nothing but laugh at God’s sense of humor and her pastor husband’s lack of faith in the power of his son’s prayer. My son instantly named the mutt “Scottie”, before we actually knew the dog was a female. And so, from then on she was affectionately known as “Scottie, the girl dog.”
But God was not through answering the prayers of that little boy and humbling his daddy. After a few weeks, I asked my wife, “how much are you feeding that dog? She’s getting fat.” She said I’m not feeding that dog any extra. So, then we looked at each other and said, “she’s pregnant!” So my God, “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,”(Eph.3:20) gave that little boy and his sisters 6 more mutt puppies, much to their glee. They did recognize that 7 dogs were probably too many to keep for ourselves. So, we all agreed to share the joy of puppies with other people. Fortunately it was the Holiday Season and we were able to advertise Christmas puppies and give them all away. But my whole family knew that God had abundantly answered the fervent prayers of a little boy.
Even now, when all my kids are grown, they call home and share their prayer requests with us believing God for answers, and we thank Him for His response. The answers aren’t always exactly what we asked for, but we still recognize that God answers, even if He says. “No” or “Not yet.”
This is an article I'm sharing with Good News Chattanooga Magazine, hope you enjoy.