Thinking About Answered Prayers…and Other Good Stuff

Welcome  I’m not sure what I expected from the new year, but I have really been struggling these first few weeks.  For some reason, in my imperfect Christian mind, I expected the new year to somehow instantaneously bring answers to all my prayers!  Am I the only one guilty of this mindset?  As usual, following some tears and prayers (often at the same time), I had to redirect my thinking, adjust my attitude, and find my gratitude.  So here’s the good stuff!  Thanks for stopping by.

Food For Thought  I have some pretty big prayers sometimes.  I always have, and while I never want to undermine the importance of recognition and gratitude for these “big” prayers, I think we often overlook the answers to our small prayers.  Here are a few examples of answers to small prayers that made a big difference in my life during the first part of this year.

First of all, we traveled to my parents for the New Year’s holiday, which is five hours away.  We always pray for travel safety, and while it’s pretty routine and lacks much emotion, we are sincere and very grateful when we arrive at our destination and back home again, safe and sound.  This year, our travel included an extra concern.  While we were gone, our home was subject to multiple days of below zero temperatures.  Yes, that’s below zero, not just below freezing!  We had concerns for our pipes and plumbing and the potential for freezing while we were gone.  Thankfully, we returned to a dry home, with the exception of our water softener system in our garage, but it was a very minor issue.  Answered prayers…thank you, God!

Also, when returning home, there’s always a stack of mail that needs attention.  One of the items was our bank statement, which upon inspection, had a questionable charge.  My husband and I discussed the item in question and neither of us could explain it, but noticed there was a phone number listed with the charge.  The next day, following a quick, but very sincere prayer, I called the number.  It turns out to be an annual fee for a subscription I’ve had since 2011!  We’ve paid it every December since then and I just couldn’t remember what it was for.  I was able to cancel the subscription to a running group that I no longer use, saving us a decent amount of money in future years, as well as being refunded the amount charged in December!  I had prayed that we hadn’t been compromised at the bank, and ended up coming out “ahead” in the situation.  Answered prayers…God is so good!

Over the holidays, my brother had strep throat and my dad developed pneumonia.  I spoke with my mom a couple of days ago and they are both almost 100% again.  Answered prayers…praise God!

We had a kitchen flood a couple weeks ago…to the point where water was dripping down into our basement from under the kitchen sink.  I cried…and prayed, Dear God, please let this be an easy, inexpensive fix without further damage.  For less than $125 my husband was able to make the repair himself, and aside from some damage to the cabinet under the sink, we came out safe and sound.  Answered prayers…thank you, God, for looking out for my family and our home!

In the midst of our big stretch of single digit temperatures, my vehicle that is now 12 years old and approaching 200K miles was a little fussy.  Fussy as in it didn’t want to start, at all.  My daughter had already made it to school and my husband was at work, so I was going to run some errands.  My fear was that I would end up stranded somewhere.  I said a prayer of gratitude for my good ol’ Trailblazer and if I got it started I asked that I not be stranded anywhere in the freezing cold.  On the next try, it started and I’ve had no trouble with it since!  Answered prayers…God hears us!

While I’ve had some stress and frustration during this first month of 2018, I’ve also been blessed to see just how many ways God answers my prayers.  Two friends that battled breast cancer in 2017 have completed all treatments and are now both declared “cancer free.”  Another friend battling health issues had a couple of good days that we are all thankful for.  I’ve seen an improvement in my mom’s health.  I’ve had friends surprise me with a much-needed phone call.  My husband’s blood sugar continues to improve.  Our daughter’s grades improved during the second quarter at school.  We continue to have financial provision, sometimes in very unique ways, ways that I can only explain as God taking care of us.  Where God guides, he provides!

Earlier this week, I had a meltdown, likely due to an illness, but I thought it was a lack of seeing God actively participate in my prayers and requests.  I was probably being a little irrational and emotional.  Fortunately, God knows that I can be irrational and emotional sometimes, yet he still loves me and accepts me where I am, bringing me peace and calm as soon as I ask for it.  So it’s good, and absolutely necessary, to remind myself from time to time that God answers small prayers just as well as the big prayers, which may require a little more patience and preparation.

Today’s Scripture  I think the “Ask, seek, knock” passage from Matthew chapter 7 would be very appropriate to share with today’s story of answered prayers.

Matthew 7:7-12  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Today’s Recipe  Answered prayers are definitely “good stuff!”  Nothing I can offer here will take their place, I know that for sure!  So, I’m just going to share a simple recipe for some good ol’ meatloaf today.  Tomato-free for yours truly, this meatloaf has a cranberry-mustard sauce that resembles a tangy Carolina-style barbecue sauce.  I love it!  It’s the next best thing to real barbecue flavor!  If you’re a traditionalist, you can always top your meatloaf with good ol’ ketchup or some tangy barbecue sauce.

Good Ol Meatloaf with Cranberry Mustard Sauce
This meatloaf is topped with a cranberry mustard sauce, a tomato-free sauce resembling a tangy Carolina style barbecue sauce.

Good Ol’ Meatloaf with Cranberry Mustard Sauce (yields 8 slices of meatloaf)

  • For Meatloaf:
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 2 TBS spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • For Sauce:
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients until well combined.  Place in loaf pan, shaping to fit.  Place in oven and bake 55-60 minutes.  In small sauce pan, stir together all sauce ingredients over medium heat until just beginning to bubble.  When sauce begins to bubble turn to LOW heat, stirring occasionally.  Sauce will begin to thicken while meatloaf is cooking.  When meatloaf has cooked, remove from oven and add sauce to top of loaf (you may not want all of the sauce on top.)  Place back in oven and cook an additional 5-8 minutes.  Cut meatloaf into eight slices, serving with additional sauce, if desired.  This sauce also pairs well with a meatloaf made with ground turkey or ground turkey patties.

Cranberry Mustard Sauce
This cranberry mustard sauce has become my standard substitute for barbecue sauces containing tomato products.