I wish I could remember the exact moment I prayed my first mailbox prayer. I do remember they started around the time we became home missionaries.
Home missionaries can be distinctly paralleled to babes in Christ, especially when they are young and this is their first pastorate. At first, they are teeter-tottering around on all fours. Every move forward on hands and knees produces the applause and cheers from proud parents. Then they are brave and confident in their parents’ prodding, and they cautiously rise on their two feet. Everyone takes a deep breath, holds it, and waits. Either they will take a step forward or fall back on all fours and wait for another day of supernatural bravery. Whatever they decide, home missionaries depend heavily on their parents’ smiles, encouragement, and strength of hands as they help them along during the scraping, bruising, and other achievements of growth.
After much growth there comes a time when they cannot depend on proud and helpful parents anymore. Like a little duckling that is pushed from its cozy nest high in the tree, they have to depend on the struggle of their wings and the wind and divine lift of the Spirit and forces of God. This is where I found myself when these prayers began.
It Really Works
It was a simple prayer, but it worked. Somewhere in the course of this new home missionary life I began praying these prayers. “Lord, let there be a miracle in our mailbox.” I remember turning the key in the little lock, opening the mailbox, and there nestled between ads, bills, and correspondence from friends a thousand miles away was an unexpected envelope: the miracle in the mailbox.
Over time, these prayers were prayed on the way to the bank. They were prayed on the way to church. They were prayed on the way home from the grocery store. As the checks in envelopes began appearing, and my daily log of miracles began multiplying, you can imagine my rush to the mailbox and my expectancy to receive a miracle.
Then there were those times that the prayers subsided, not because the miracles ceased, but because life interrupted. Then I would remember the miracles in the mailbox and the praying would begin again and the miracles would be logged again.
Recently, I hit another growth spurt. I began to realize that these miracles were things I am entitled to as a child of God. Not just because I was brave enough to ask for money because money helps, but because the Word of God tells me it comes with the territory.
These blessings that I am writing about do not come from the confines of the sanctuary. Yes there are blessings that cannot be explained for their greatness, that we inherit from our worship and from the preached Word of God and the fellowship of our dear family in Christ; blessings that fill our hearts with unspeakable joy. But there is another realm of blessings that opens up to us the moment we lock the church doors behind us and we wish the dear saints of God the good week they deserve until the next time we meet.
These blessings are entitled to the life that worships. They are entitled to the life that heeds the preached Word of God. These blessings are entitled to the faithful and the fruitful and the separated. But many times these tokens of God’s love do not come from the faithful and the fruitful and the separated.
So with this growth, my mailbox prayers changed slightly. I began praying for those houses that we did not build. I began praying for the vineyards that we did not plant. And yes, I began praying for the money we did not sweat and toil for.
Our Kids Get to See It!
Several weeks ago I picked up our daughter from school. She sat in the front seat and began shuffling through the mail I had placed there. Then, in her seven year old voice she said, “Mommy, I’m still praying for a miracle in our mailbox.” Saying those words was a very natural thing because they have become regular dialogue between both of us. So I responded like any mother would, “Sweetie, I am too!”
The next day while we were stirring around the house, my husband looks up at me as if he just remembered something important. He grabbed his wallet, opened it, and took out two crisp one-hundred dollar bills. He held them up and waited. I tried to make sense of it. I didn’t know if it was money for a bill that he needed me to pay, if it was grocery money, or if it was his tithing that I needed to place in an envelope. I asked what it was for. He said it was for us. I asked, “Where did it come from?” He said, “Mr. Miller threw it on the counter last night.” During my husband’s overnight shift at his job, the owner of the business placed the money on the counter and walked away.
I told my husband how our daughter had just said that she was still praying for a miracle in our mailbox. I did not connect the money with my new prayers, but to our daughter’s spoken prayer.
The next week, my husband pulls out two more one-hundred dollar bills. “Mr. Miller threw them on the counter last night.” That was during his Friday overnight shift. We praised God and remembered the prayers for the houses we did not build. We rejoiced in the blessings of God.
The next day, during his Saturday overnight shift, my cell phone rings. It was almost three o’clock in the morning and it was a call from my husband. His first words after my hello were, “Something just happened and I don’t know what to do about it.” I asked what had happened and he kept saying, “Jesus. Dear God…” I became anxious and asked again what had happened. He said Mr. Miller had just come by and had thrown eleven one-hundred dollar bills on the counter. He now had thirteen one-hundred dollar bills in his wallet! I sat up in bed, stunned. And as I remembered the prayers that had been going up before God I said, “This is the money that we did not work for!”
Blessings that we are entitled to
People’s thoughts and ideas of God’s blessings are so limited. Although grand and divine, we associate the abundance of God with what only happens at the church house, forgetting that the Bible tells us that everywhere our feet tread would be ours.
Blessings are not only ours at the tabernacle, but they often come from a giant-infested Canaan. Blessings are not always intentional; sometimes they were meant to be delivered as a curse from a hired curse-bearer such as Balaam. And sometimes they are transported in the mouths of ravens.
The world does not understand it, but they cannot avoid it. They are meant to bless us because we as God’s church are entitled to blessings that only they can give. God wants each of His children to know that He does own the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), and that the earth is His and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1). We can boldly ask of Him and He will boldly show us that He can!