How To Be the Answer to Your Own Prayers

November 1, 2010 | 13 comments

Haiti shook, and months later, we still can’t shake Haiti.

We are split wide open at our epicentres — these human souls. Our internal Richter scale still registers high.

Nightly, our oldest daughter prays for a reprieve. Over and over again, her prayers are for the children — the ones with no underwear, the ones who eat mud pies and live in tent cities, and sleep in dirt, and are sickened by cholera.

And now, a battered country braces for an approaching tropical storm.

No, we can’t shake Haiti from our minds, nor do we wish to. We ask God to break out hearts for them, because healing comes from broken places.

I turn off the lights, lay on the quilt next to my daughter, who has a full stomach and so many shirts we can barely stuff them into drawers.

“Dear God,” she calls out again in shaky voice. She’s breaking, too. “I hope that you can hear us. Please, please, pleeeease be with the kids in Haiti.”

He hears us, I tell her.

And we whisper Amen, the word that means True. With our amens, we do more than offer a concluding word. In nighttime prayers, we are doing more than putting a period on the past. We are putting exclamation points on all of our tomorrows.


I gently shake her shoulder at 7:10 a.m. It’s the day we return to the Kids Against Hunger center to pack food — like we did last winter.

She’s still nestled in her quilted cocoon.

“Lydia?” I say. “Guess what we’re going to do today?”

“What?” she whispers, voice hoarse.

“We’re going to be the answer to your prayer,” I tell her.

Because this is how any one one of us can save a life, how any one of us can start to rescue a broken world, in Jesus’ name.

Sometimes, we really can be the answer to our own prayers. Not always, but sometimes.

Any of us can be doers of the Word, not just hearers. Any of us can be the exclamation point.

We can become a part of the miracle. (!!!!!!!!)

With five loaves and two fish, Jesus fed 5,000.

With 24 people, eight tubs full of rice, dehydrated vegetables and soy protein, we could be miracle-makers, too. In two hours, we packaged 4,536 meals.

Lydia marked the boxes this way, with promises and exclamation points:

Yes, He does. He really does!

by | November 1, 2010 | 13 comments


  1. alicia

    Love that "we're going to be the answers to our prayers". Perfect.

    My kids were upset this morning in the car as we drove to school and heard on 96.5 that another storm could head to Haiti- I hate that its happening, I love that love and concern that flows through the children through this tragedy…
    Thanks for what you do for the people of Haiti, you are a blessing!

  2. Beth E.

    A great post, Jennifer! What you said is so true. We must be doers of the word, putting our prayers into action. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Edward Everett Hale:

    "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."

    You are a great mom!

  3. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    awesome. what a huge blessing your children were to those who will be on the receiving end of that gift of grace.

  4. Runner Mom

    Jennifer, this post brought me to tears. I love the pics of y'all working and especially of Lydia and the words that she will share! Precious. You're right…we can hear the Word but we must be doers of the Word. Thank you!

  5. jasons

    Yes! Beautiful pictures and story. Love it, Jennifer. Thanks.

  6. Tabitha

    This made me cry of joy.

  7. A Simple Country Girl

    making faith real, really real


  8. S. Etole

    both you and Country Girl gave us excellent reminders today of the importance of not just hearing, but doing …

  9. Doug Spurling

    "We ask God to break out hearts for them, because healing comes from broken places."

    And when we are broken then we are moved to fix, to heal, to pray, to be doers and not hearers only.

    What a good post and example and mother and child of God you are.

    Thank you.

  10. Jennifer

    I saw the storm on the news this afternoon and couldn't help thinking, "Haiti again?" Those poor people haven't recovered. I'm praying God keeps it from becoming hurricane strength.

  11. Darlene

    I just love this.
    you have inspired me, once again, today.

  12. Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience

    Ah, this: "We're going to be the answers to our prayers"

    He does things like that.

    And your Lydia is just as wonderful as you are.

  13. Amy Sullivan

    Beautiful post. So glad Ann linked it to a recent post because I missed it the first go round. We can become part of the miracle, if only we reach out.


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