We See Giants

“This one’s amazing.” “It’s so beautiful.” A dozen preteen girls rushed around the concrete dorm room, climbing on new bunk beds or running reverent hands across new blankets. White walls glowed from the giddy smiles and little dresses bursting with red and blue flowers.

These little girls were saved from the sex trade in Uganda and had moved into a newly built dorm with brand new bedding.

My wife, Megan, looked up from the video on her phone, “what do you think?”

I opened my mouth to answer, but lost my voice. I nodded and quickly turned away, wiping at the rush of tears. We’d given some money for the dorm and the beds. It wasn’t that much money, but when I saw their little faces and heard their singsong voices, that gift felt like the most significant accomplishment of my life. I was proud and ashamed at the same time.

The whole thing started a few months earlier when I’d decided to study an interesting command by Jesus. He said to store up for yourselves treasure… After hearing that, a lot of things about life made sense. Jesus loved speaking to the heart of what drives humanity. Money is certainly one of those things. I don’t know anyone who wants to be poor. No wonder, God built the desire to be rich into our natures.

Jesus added a caveat that most bankers won’t. He said, don’t store it here where we have stock markets, and thieves (and politicians), and finally death to take it away. He said to store it where you can never lose it: Heaven.

All of a sudden, more than anything, I wanted to move some of my investment portfolio heavenward. I immediately had a number in mind. Megan and I started praying about where God was leading. She researched online and found Bloom Worldwide, the organization needing money to finish the dorm. The amount they needed just happened to be exactly the amount we had decided to give. Are you surprised?

What I didn’t know was that a family in a tiny house in Uganda was overflowing with rescued girls. They were praying about a dorm and beds. The people at Bloom Worldwide were praying too.

Have you ever prayed and not received an answer? Me too. Miracles and coincidences happen a million times a day, so why not that time? Was the issue me or God?

As I wonder about missing miracles, three words ring in my head: ‘because you prayed.’

They’re from Isaiah 37, where a brutal Assyrian King is about to destroy Jerusalem. The King of Jerusalem, Hezekiah, asked God for help. That night God destroyed the Assyrian army without the Israeli army unsheathing a single sword.

Stories about miracles get me excited about the power waiting to explode in my life. Why don’t I see more of that power? What can I do to see more? What strikes me about this miracle isn’t just that God stepped in, it’s why he stepped in, “because you prayed.” Would he have stepped in if Hezekaiah hadn’t prayed? Would I have given to the dorm if those little girls in Uganda hadn’t been praying?

In the book of Daniel, Daniel prayed and then fasted for 21 days waiting for an answer. An angel showed up and said the answer had been dispatched immediately, but got waylaid by some demonic power for 21 days. What would have happened if Daniel had stopped praying at day 20?

When Jesus taught about prayer, he used an example of an old widow wanting justice from a judge. She asked and asked, and bugged the judge so often that he finally gave her what she wanted. He said she was going to wear him out. In another example of how to pray, Jesus told a story about a man whose request was so audacious and persistent that it was answered.

Is that how I’m praying? Not really. And what am I asking for? Are my prayers limited to what I think God can or will do?

I remember a particular Sunday morning. Sun shone through the stained glass windows behind the pulpit.The old pipe organ howled. I squirmed, trying to get comfortable in medieval wooden pews. Up front a missionary, guest-speaker from Afghanistan riled the crowd.
“How many of you believe in God?”
We half-raised our hands. Believe in God? We are here aren’t we? Where’s he going with this?
He wasn’t satisfied with our response. “How many of you believe in God?”
Ugh. He’s going to be like that old widow and wear us out if we don’t do something. More people raised hands.
“How many of you believe in the power of God?”
Finally we were paying attention. We all raised our hands. A few amens rang.
“How many of you believe that prayer changes lives?”
The sanctuary roared. Several people rose to their feet.
“How many of you pray for terrorists?”

Oh me of little faith.

How’s my marriage? How’s my work, my kids, my peace and joy, my dreams? How do I like the direction our nation is heading? And am I praying? Really praying – like Daniel, and the widow, and audacious man?

These days my life is full of miracles. It hasn’t always felt this way. It’s surreal having God address every need from finding my keys to getting a giant check from a distant relative. Jesus said he’d give me ANYTHING I asked for if my goals aligned with his. So I do … and I don’t. Even living in a deluge of miracles, I still forget, and waste time being frustrated and getting discouraged before I finally ask the creator of the universe for help. And get it.

Here’s to the praying ones, the famous, the invisible, the businessman, housewife, and student… the ones who see problems differently — they’re not scared of impossibilities… You might be curious or indifferent, you might deify or despise them, but the only thing you can’t do is stop them … They raise up kings and tear down empires. And while some may see a grandma or a child, we see giants, because the ones who are crazy enough to think prayer can change the world, are the ones who do.


If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


  1. Indeed! Prayer is one of the most wondrous and myterious aspects of this life we live on planet earth. That the LORD our God, King of the Universe, and Creator of All That Is, should invite us into a cooperative effort of conforming this dimension to his sovereign will. God knows, he doesn’t need us. And yet he invites us. It reminds me of a two-year old child being invited by her father to help clean out the garage—a broom is wildly swung about, dust is flying everywhere, and eventually the child tires, the garage dirtier than before she started “helping.” But the father smiles though it all, saying, “Look at my wonderful daughter! How she loves to help me!” And then he cleans up the mess.

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