The Persistent Prayer

06/01/2017 .
Karen Koczwara  .  Volunteer Storyteller

Larry had always found a way to provide for his wife, Susie, and two daughters. Because of his successful career in IT, his family had enjoyed a comfortable life in Southern California. With his daughters now grown and one grandson living with him and Susie, the couple thought their best years were ahead of them. But in February last year, Larry’s employment contract came to an abrupt end. Susie believed he’d find work right away. After all, Larry never had trouble landing jobs in the past. But as the weeks turned into months, the couple’s bank account slowly dwindled — along with their optimism.

Susie made immediate financial adjustments. They stopped eating out, Susie got creative in the kitchen, and she began comparison shopping at grocery stores to snag the best deals. Susie grew depressed about trying to make everything work. Susie was learning to rely on God in unprecedented and uncomfortable new ways.

Larry continued his search for work, but nothing turned up. The couple prayed fervently together. Occasionally Susie found herself unable to utter a word to God, she could only cry.

When Susie and Larry met with their small group Susie opened up about the job situation. At first, she’d been reluctant to share, but she realized pride had been holding her back. The group showered her and Larry with prayer and support, and to her amazement, God began to work small miracles. The women in Susie’s Thursday morning Bible study began to pray for her as well. Susie rode the roller coaster of emotions, sometimes confident and sometimes doubting God.

One morning at sunrise, while walking her puppy in the neighborhood, Susie began to pray as she breathed in the fresh morning air. On the edge of the sidewalk, she spotted a small plastic action figure. It was still dark and she couldn’t tell what it was. She carried it home to inspect it more closely. At home, Susie’s eyes grew wide with shock. She had picked up a warrior princess wearing the armor of God. Susie knew this was no coincidence. She had been studying the armor of God with the other women in her Bible study. This reminded her to keep praying for her breakthrough. Once again, God had shown up to remind her he still cared.

One day, the couple’s mortgage company called, asking if Susie and Larry would like to lower their interest rate. They gladly obliged, going two months without a mortgage payment. Anonymous monetary gifts periodically showed up on their doorstep and in the mail. When their garbage disposal went out, Susie and Larry wondered how they’d afford a new one. But a few weeks later, a friend who worked in the home building business called asking if Susie if she knew anyone that needed a garbage disposal. He had an extra one he wanted to give away. “The timing couldn’t have been a coincidence,” Susie said. “Just when I thought I’d lost my faith or doubted if God was listening, another small miracle would come through.”

Ten months into Larry’s job search, Pastor Rick began the Seeking God for a Breakthrough series. Susie and Larry were still struggling to get by. Larry didn’t have any job leads. Through Pastor Rick’s messages, God reminded Susie to stay focused on him, not her circumstances. He reassured her that her prayers had not been hitting the ceiling, that he had heard them all. Not a one had been in vain.

“Pastor Rick shared the analogy of a plane landing on a runway,” Susie said. “He told us the bigger the blessing, the longer the runway.” These words brought encouragement as they reminded her to keep holding on and praying persistently. As she continued to pray, her outlook shifted, and she began to appreciate the blessings right in front of her.

God continued walking with Susie and Larry every difficult step of the way. As Christmas neared, Susie wondered how they’d celebrate. They had no money for a tree, gifts, or a meal. A member of their small group surprised them with a gift card so they could at least have a holiday dinner. Though they did not enjoy the traditional Christmas with presents around the tree, Susie felt God’s peace in their lives.

“The presence of God and his amazing grace became the most valuable gift we could have received,” said Susie. “Our daughters both said it was one of the best Christmas days we ever had as a family.”

Exactly one long, very difficult year passed. And then, it came at last – a long awaited job offer! Larry found work in Northern California and accepted the position. “The challenge for me is that Larry will only be home on the weekends,” Susie said. “But with all God has taught me, I know I’ll have the strength and endurance to get through this one. “

Next Christmas should look much different for Susie and Larry. “Though this last year was the most challenging, I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else,” she said. “I’ve learned that the only way to live is to be fully, solely entirely dependent on God.”

Click HERE to learn more about the Seeking God for a Breakthrough series.