Inspirational Story

Conditions to Prayer

Another story from Youth Prays God Answers.

John Ash and his daughter Helen were having problems.  At first they were small differences; then they grew larger.  Communication deteriorated until there was open hostility.  Finally Helen could not stand it any longer and moved to an apartment a few blocks away.  They still attended the same church and consequently met there.  But the estrangement continued.

John Ash was a painting contractor.  His business was going from bad to worse and his wife was increasingly worried over their financial embarrassment.  Bills were not being paid, and she knew this could not continue.

About this time John heard about the prayer classes being conducted in a nearby town and he heard about people who had had unusual answers to prayer as the result of the class.  His curiosity was aroused to the place that he made the one hundred mile round trip to investigate for himself, in the hope that it might be the answer to his problems.  As John sat and listened to thrilling testimonies of answered prayer, he became aware of one fact: “To every promise there are conditions” Education pg 258.  But it was very clearly emphasised that, “The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal!”  John Ash was unhappy with himself, because he realised he was going to have to meet the conditions if he expected to get an answer.  One of the conditions presented was found in Matthew 5:23-25 that says if there is trouble or a misunderstanding with someone, it is our duty to go and make it right and then come and make our request.

John kept coming to the class each week.  He was always thrilled to hear the youth and older people tell of answered prayers.  As yet he had not felt he could in good conscience make the request of God because the conditions had not been met.  It was a frustrating situation.  During this time, his business continued to deteriorate.  It looked as if he was going to have to declare bankruptcy.  In his desperation he was ready to blame the class for some of his plight.  He felt that perhaps the instruction was misleading.  John was grasping for some excuse, something to blame for his situation.  He realised that none of his prayers were being answered.  Every day he could see himself singing deeper and deeper into debt.

As John thought about his problems, the Holy Spirit impressed him with the stark truth that he had not obeyed the simple command to make wrongs right before expecting God to answer his prayers.  It was time for some action.  John decided to write to several people with whom he had had problems and quarrels which had left bitter feelings.  He decided he would apologise for his part of the problem and ask for forgiveness.  After starting to write, John realised that it would take days for the replies to return.  In a moment John knew what he would do—he would phone them.

Before he made the first call, John fell on his knees and surrendered his heart to the Lord as best he knew how.  Then he called the three people involved in the problem.  To each he apologised and received their forgiveness.  John began feeling the thrill of forgiveness.  It was great!  But just as he was enjoying the exhilaration for forgiveness, he remembered there was one more call he must make, he and Helen were still not speaking to each other.  He decided he would take care of that problem a little later in the week.   There were other problems that demanded his immediate attention.  John had been troubled for some time about being a card-carrying Union member.  Since he was making things right, he thought he ought to clear the slate.  With that, he picked up the telephone and notified the Union that he was pulling out of the organisation.  Several other minor matters were adjusted, and John realised that very little remained left to do before he met the conditions to answered prayer.  Now that he was no longer a Union member, he could not rely on them for work leads.  So he went to the printer and had a flyer printed up that advertised the fact that he was an experienced painter and was anxious to do good work at a fair price.  The printing was promised for Friday afternoon, which meant that he could distribute the leaflets early Sunday morning.  Things were beginning to look good again.  John’s faith was growing in spite of the fact that there was no work in sight.

That Friday night he found himself sitting next to his daughter Helen.  He thought several time that he would make things right and ask her forgiveness for the way he had treated her.  But each time he attempted to speak, he could not find the words.  After the program Helen was busy talking with some of her friends.  And before he knew it, she was gone.

John returned home with a heavy heart. He could not understand why it was he had not just take n the situation in hand and spoken to his daughter.  It was going to be such a simple thing.  Now it loomed before him as the one things that prevented him from claiming the promises of the Bible.  As he lay in bed, tossing and turning, not being able to go to sleep, it became an ever-increasing problem, growing bigger by the minute.  Suddenly in the stillness of the night he heard a rap on the front door.  He wondered who could be calling at that hour of the night.  He stumbled to the door and unlocked it.  There, before his eyes stood his daughter.  “Oh, Helen!” he said, “Come in.  I was just thinking about you.”

Helen had barely crossed the threshold when she burst into tears and said, “Daddy, I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I’ve come to apologise to you for my bitter feelings I’ve held toward you for so long.”

What a sight that was! Sitting there on the sofa, Helen and Daddy embraced, each forgiving the other and both so thankful for the effecting reconciliation.  It was a wonderful experience that brought peace to both hearts.

Sabbath was a joyous day.  Sunday morning John and his son distributed the leaflets.  That night John prayed the prayer of reception and felt the assurance that God had heard his prayer.  He went to sleep in complete confidence that the morrow would bring an answer—and work.

He did not have long to wait.  The telephone rang early that morning, inviting him to come to work.  By noon he was hard at work.  Just after he left work, one of the finance companies called to say that they must have their money by that evening or they would come and pick up the fridge.  John had done sufficient work by that time to make it possible for him to ask the man for whom he was painting for and advance on the job.  Mrs ash went to the finance company and was able to make the payment minutes before the office closed.  By Wednesday John had $5000 worth of contacts and was a very happy man.

A few days later in the prayer meeting he asked “Why do you suppose God let me get so low before He answered me?”  Hugh James answered the question: “Do you supposed it is because we are stubborn sometimes?”  How much longer would it have taken if Helen had not responded to the conviction and taken the first step towards reconciliation?