An Essential Spiritual Tool

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Want to empower and enrich your prayer life? Don’t we all?

Lori Hatcher’s new devotional, Refresh Your Prayers, is an essential spiritual tool if you’re seeking improved prayer life. I was. And I just finished Lori’s book. Not only did it help me understand prayer better than ever, but it also inspired me to pray boldly and confidently. It’s a book I’ll return to again and again.

I’m delighted to welcome Lori here today to share one of the sixty engaging devotions from Refresh Your Prayers. Let me know what you think!

Raising Lazarus (and Wormi)

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

My first sincere prayer raised the dead.

Subsequent prayers have produced less dramatic results.

I was sixteen years old, not a drama queen by any stretch of the imagination, but every bit a teenage girl. My highs were Pikes Peak, and my lows were the soil at the base of the Grand Canyon.

I’d been attending a church that taught that God hears and answers prayers. I learned He was powerful, compassionate, and loving.

One night those truths became especially meaningful to me—the night Wormi died.

Wormi was my favorite fish. A khuli loach, Wormi looked like a brown ribbon with eyes and whiskers. His eellike body sported orange stripes and a tail that could propel him through the water at exceptional speed. He’d zoom around the tank, delighting my sisters and me with his antics. The tank had a lid, just in case he launched himself out of the water and tried to fly.

Every night before I climbed into bed, I counted my fish. Six months earlier the pimelodella catfish had scarfed up a tiger barb, and I’d begun doing roll call at bedtime. That night, all were accounted for except Wormi.

Most days he’d drape himself in one of the plastic trees that lined the back of the aquarium, slither into the fake castle, or camouflage among the coral, but that night, I didn’t see him anywhere.

Then I noticed the cover to the aquarium was askew. My stomach clenched as I scanned the carpet in front of the tank. There, in the center of a ball of carpet fuzz, was Wormi, curled into a perfect U and crispy as an autumn leaf.

My scream brought every member of the family running. I scooped him up, fuzz and all, and plopped him into the tank. I watched in horror as he and his fuzzy sweater sank to the bottom, where he rested, lifeless and stiff.

No amount of consoling could quiet my brokenhearted wails. Mom offered to buy me a new fish. My sisters hugged and patted me. Dad stood by in silent solidarity, helpless to ease my pain.

When time passed and Wormi showed no signs of life, I turned out the light and crawled into bed sobbing. That’s when I remembered prayer.

“Lord,” I whispered as fresh tears wet my cheeks, “you raised Lazarus from the dead. Couldn’t you raise Wormi too? I know he’s just a fish, but he’s my favorite fish. I love him.” I thought about how the pious ladies in church prayed and added, “In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.”

I switched on the light to see if God had answered my prayer, but Wormi remained curved like a horseshoe in the ball of carpet fuzz. I’ll bury him in the morning, I thought and turned out the light.

I slept fitfully and awakened with a heavy heart. Knowing I couldn’t postpone the inevitable, I grabbed the net.

Eying the hairy glob of fuzz at the bottom of the tank, I blinked. And blinked again. The wad of carpet fiber hadn’t moved, but Wormi was gone.

God took him to heaven, I thought in surprise.

Then a movement caught my eye. There, in the corner of the aquarium, draped in his favorite tree, sat Wormi. Bright-eyed and whiskery, he looked no worse for his experience. I screamed, again drawing my family from all parts of the house.

“God heard my prayer. God heard my prayer. He raised Wormi from the dead!” Tears streamed down my face as my sisters joined me in a happy dance that would have made Snoopy proud.

I’ve grown a lot since that first heartbroken prayer. I’ve learned it’s not always God’s will to heal and restore. But sometimes it is.

Wormi’s resurrection day marks a crucial point in my spiritual life. It fixed forever in my heart the truth that God hears and responds to our prayers. That night, I believe He wanted to encourage my fledgling faith by performing a small (but huge to me) miracle. He wanted to teach me to call to Him for help and to learn to “watch in hope for the Lord,” knowing that “my

God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

Because of Wormi, I know I pray to a God who has the power to do miracles. The more I pray and watch how He answers (sometimes yes, and sometimes no), the more I learn to trust Him and wait expectantly for the unexpected.

Uncommon Power

We can come to God with impossible prayers because He has the power to do impossible things.

Praise Prompt

Oh, Father, nothing is too hard for you. When I’m tempted not to pray because the situation seems hopeless or the need too great, remind me that you are the God who created the world from nothing, hung the universe in place, and raised the dead to life. I don’t have to limit my prayers, because your power is more than enough. Grow my faith. Increase my trust. Use my prayers to bring you glory. In the strong name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Live It Out

If you’ve been a Christian for very long, you know God doesn’t always do miracles in response to our prayers. But sometimes He does. Wouldn’t you hate to miss a miracle because you didn’t have the faith to ask for it? Commit today never to underestimate or second-guess God. The next time you encounter a situation that can only be fixed by a miracle, ask God for it. Who knows if your prayer might be the catalyst to release God’s power into your situation?

Lori Hatcher is a pastor’s wife who lives delightfully close to her four grandchildren in Lexington, South Carolina. She’s the author of several devotional books including Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise. She’s also a blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Refresh . Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Taken from Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise by Lori Hatcher© 2022. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread Publishing®, Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Our Daily Bread Publishing® at permissionsdept@odb.org.

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15 Comments

  1. I’m enjoying Lori’s book very much! It’s wonderful that you’re helping spread the word about such a helpful book to Refresh our prayers!!

  2. Oh to pray with innocence and childlike faith again. That is my goal. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Thanks for your hard work on this book, Lori. I look forward to reading it when my copy arrives. Thanks, Candyce, for sharing portions of Lori’s book with us.

  4. I ejoyed your post, Lori. I remember those years as a teenager, those mountain top and valley shifts of emotion. So glad this story had a happy ending and that you shared this memory and its life lesson with us. I’m looking forward to getting your book.

  5. Thank you, Candyce, for sharing Refresh Your Faith with your readers. As the hymn writer so eloquently said, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” Blessings to you, my friend.

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