This year, I’m sharing stories from a variety of writers related to the topics in Pray A to Z:A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community. One of the F prayer topics in the book is Finances. Maybe you set a savings or giving goal for the year, or maybe you’re working to pay off debt. I know praying over finances has changed our life.
Several years ago, we found ourselves facing an ever-growing mountain of bills. It started with a major health crisis and a high deductible. Then appliances started breaking. And a car died.
I was certain that just one more unexpected bill would cause the whole mountain to avalanche and we’d spend decades digging ourselves out.
I knew I should pray over our finances.
Yet, I resorted to penny pinching, strategizing over spreadsheets, and fretting over our finances.
Penny pinching didn’t bring peace.
Spreadsheets didn’t soothe my soul.
Fretting only brought fear.
When the washer died, and in the process ruined a load of white clothes we couldn’t afford to replace, I knew I could no longer walk through this season in fear and trying to control it on my own.
I began to make my Laundromat routine one of prayer and thanksgiving rather than fear and frustration. God taught me the power of praying in all things, and showed His care through quarters.
God is still present, and He offers peace and help in the midst of the struggle.
We didn’t get a windfall of money that blew away our troubles. Instead, we saw God’s provision every day in countless small and sometimes big ways.Often God’s provisions look like a lot of work on our part.
Freelance jobs. Putting off purchases. Searching for a part time job for a year and a half, putting in application after application, until one day a great job opportunity opened for me that allowed me to do something I love, yet still have flexibility to write and speak, and bring in a little extra to pay bills.
We prioritized repairs during that season based on safety and necessity. A laundromat can replace a washer for awhile. But brakes on the car you need to drive to work? Necessity.
I texted Kedron the total for the brake job and walked out of the auto shop in faith that God would help us pay the bill. When the mail came that afternoon, I opened a check for a freelance job I had recently completed. It was nearly the exact amount as the brake repair. That had never happened to us before!
We worked for a couple years, slowly moving that mountain stone by stone. This past Christmas, we were able to show our gratitude to God by giving a little extra to people and causes we love. I will never, ever forget that season of shortage or stop giving thanks for all God did and taught us.
A few weeks ago, I shared some of the stories from that season with a group of women. We talked about praying in all things – no matter how big or small.
A couple days later, I received this e-mail from one of the women. She gave me permission to share this amazing story of God’s provision and answered prayer. I pray her story will encourage you if you’re in a season of penny pinching. No matter your financial situation, you can bring your finances to God.
“Today I called the medical center to pay an overdue medical bill. I was planning on paying the office visit and the bill for my labs all at once. Since I haven’t received my bill for the labs yet, I went ahead and called them so I could take care of it.
We do not have traditional health insurance, but instead are members of Samaritan Ministries. Thus, we pay out of pocket for all of our medical expenses. I always request the 20% self pay discount when I call to make payments. The lady I spoke with today told me that since I was late in paying she wasn’t able to honor the 20% discount. She shared with me that it is standard procedure to only honor the discount if it is less than 15 days prior to the due date. I said I understood but explained that in the past they have always honored my request for 20%. She offered to ask her supervisor about it and after being placed on hold shared with me that I would have to pay the bill in full.
I thanked her for asking, told her that I understood and was about to offer her my credit card information but felt prompted to ask if I could speak to her supervisor. After being on hold a few minutes I explained the situation to him. He appreciated my heart but shared that he wasn’t able to help me because it was a system issue that he wasn’t able to override. He offered to forward my call to his supervisor to see if there was anything they could do to help me.
While I was on hold waiting for his supervisor and likely the last person I could talk to about my bill I started to pray. I was reminded to pray in all things.
I confessed that I was delinquent in paying and told God that I would accept the consequence of having to pay in full and I acknowledged that He already knew the outcome and would provide for us financially either way.
The next lady I spoke with was able to honor the 20% discount PLUS a 75% discount on THREE medical bills. She applied those discounts to the bill I was calling about, my lab bill, and my son’s recent well child visit. The total of all my bills was about $1475, and I only had to pay $296!
God certainly answered my prayers. I called with the intentions to save $54. I know to some it’s just $54, but I wanted to secure the discount so I could be a good steward of our money and the samaritan ministries members who give of their shares to our family.
I sent my husband a text afterwards that said “Call me ASAP.” I started to cry when I was telling him “I just got off the phone with the hospital …” We had a good laugh because his mind was thinking the worst when I started with all that instead of “Call me ASAP, I have something good to share… ”
Anyway, I share all of this because it’s direct application of the message yesterday. I’m not certain I would have felt prompted to ask to speak with a supervisor (that’s unlike me) and to also pray in the midst of that sort of circumstance, while still on the phone.
Praise the Lord. Jehovah Jireh – God provides!”
God provides. Not always in the timing we might hope for, or in the ways we might expect. But if we can open our hands and hearts to Him, He will show us a path to peace and hope, even when we can’t see His answer yet.