I read a devotional this week about preparing yourself to receive the thing you have prayed for--doing an act of faith to demonstrate your belief that the answer is on its way even though you can't see it yet.
It reminded me of an amazing lesson I learned about this very thing in the early years of our marriage. My husband and I had lived in our big-city condo for quite a while, following a strict budget to save for our first house. Now, with our dream close to being fulfilled, we began to explore neighborhoods in the area where we wanted to live.
We settled on a lovely community flanking a hill that could be seen from across the city. Every morning in my quiet time, I would sit with my Bible looking out the window from our third-story condo to that very hill and pray about our new home.
"Right there, Lord, that's where we want to live. Please choose the perfect house for us, and please give us wonderful neighbors."
One day an idea came to me. I remembered that often in the Bible, God would have people do some sort of act of faith BEFORE the answer to their prayer came. They did something that showed they believed their request was already a done deal and on its way. Then the answer would come.
So when the time came for my next grocery shopping trip, instead of going to my usual neighborhood store, I drove to the one up on our chosen hill. "Lord, this is MY store now. This is where I'm going to shop because I believe it's close to where our new home will be. Thank You!"
In reality it might not have been that close; the area was large and it could be our new home would be a bit of a drive from this store. But this was right where we wanted to be and I figured it didn't hurt to be specific with the Lord.
I felt a little sheepish driving there every week, but no one cared so it didn't matter. What did matter was that God knew this was an act of faith to show that I believed He would give us the desires of our hearts. I kept up that weekly trek for some weeks, feeling a growing excitement to see what God would do.
And wouldn't you know, He did one of His above-and-beyond answers for us. We had our realtor looking in an area of homes we could afford a mile or two from my store. Nothing was right. Then one day my husband saw an ad in the paper for an open house that afternoon on a street two blocks from my store. It was an area we thought we couldn't afford, but it turned out to be our house. God gave us an amazing deal in every way, and in short order we were moving in to our wonderful answer-to-prayer home.
We discovered we had an incredible array of neighbors, a 'village' of warm and lovely people who became dear friends over the years. And, not only could I walk two blocks to my store, a two-block walk in the other direction took me to another store--take my pick! I had to laugh at God's 'double portion' design for us.
The whole experience was such a lesson in faith to me, my part and God's part. He promises specific answers to specific prayers and shows Himself mighty on our behalf when we give Him something to work with. I sensed His delight in responding to my silly act of faith, and it gave me new understanding of His loving heart and delight to bless.
So if you’re praying about a need, consider some kind of act of faith—and get ready for the answer!