Six months after finally surrendering to God’s persistent love, I found myself selling Christian literature in a summer student canvassing program. During these intensely difficult, refining, and glorious weeks, I learned the cornerstones of walking with Christ. I would drag my battered and exhausted body out of bed an hour early to study the Bible. Through those mornings and conversations with mentors, I grew to love studying the Bible.
What about prayer?
But another essential—prayer—eluded me. I would go through the motions, but I still did not sense God’s presence. I was still learning about His love, so to believe that the Author of humanity cared about my day seemed too incredible to believe.
The program leaders kept emphasizing praying for specific things. I always shied away from this, which shielded me from being disappointed. But I did not know that it also kept me from intense blessings.
As the last two weeks of the program began, I decided to give prayer a try. I prayed that on my very last door of the summer I would meet someone who was struggling with overwhelming discouragement and darkness and that I could bring this person the light of Jesus and a piece of truth that would produce joy. This prayer request became my sole focus those last two weeks. I even fasted for 48 hours; something I had never done. Although I still felt a little unsure, my faith and courage grew as the days passed.
The final day
The final day came. I sprinted to each new house, determined to find my answered prayer. Instead, it seemed as though every rude person in the world lived on my assigned streets. Barely any books left my hands that day. And as the sun set, so did my hopes. I had been so convinced, but I was more confused than sad. Had I prayed incorrectly?
The next morning, our leader had a surprise for us: we were going to work one more day at a random location for a few hours on our way back. My hopes hesitantly rose. Is Jesus really going to answer this prayer? In a random town?
We each chose random streets, although we prayed as we did. Hours passed. I knocked at my next house. An older man opened the door; his eyes were red and swollen. It looked like he had been crying for weeks. I started to share about our books but asked him what was wrong instead. He shared that his wife of decades had suddenly died, not even a month ago. He told me about her—her hobbies, her laugh, and her love of cooking. Then he seemed to suddenly remember why I had knocked on his door and asked me if I had any books about heaven.
“Not specifically. Why?” I asked.
At this, his eyes filled with fresh tears. “The Bible says there’s no marriage in heaven. So does . . . does that mean I can’t love my wife anymore?” I did not know what to say. But suddenly, as Jesus promises, the words came.
“Actually, you will be able to love her. When she was here, even on your best days, you loved her with an imperfect love. But in heaven, your love will be made perfect. You’ll be able to love her even more.”
His sad eyes suddenly lit up with excitement. “I’ll be able to love her more!” He kept repeating this truth, now crying tears of relief and joy.
We talked for a while. I shared Bible verses, literature, and a prayer where we both cried. As I turned to leave his house, my leader was waiting for me. Jesus even answered the smallest detail: that man’s home was my last house.
I sometimes still struggle to believe that my prayers reach the ears of God. But this experience, and others like it, are too incredible to be forgotten or ignored. God delights to hear from us, and He is only waiting for us to ask for wonderful gifts. He can barely wait to give them to us.