Faith

I asked God for an elephant and He gave me an elephant: the power of praying specific prayers

I originally shared this article as a post on my personal Facebook profile on September 24, 2017.

I’ve shared this story to some friends but also want to share here on FB. This is a lesson I learned on being specific in prayer.

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True to being part of the Intercessory Ministry, I don’t pray for myself as much because I don’t really “need” anything for myself. But when I do, I ask God for wisdom, guidance, and not much else.

A few months ago I kept getting the message over and over (via conversations with godly friends and my devotionals) that I had to be more specific with my prayers for myself (prayers for other people weren’t a problem, though). It was a recurring message so I took note of that and decided to “challenge” God and try it out.

On June 29, 2017, I wrote a journal entry to God in my journal app. I thought of asking for something really specific, difficult, but INCONSEQUENTIAL in the grand scheme of things— something not out of greed or gain.

I wrote, “I want a blue, pink, and yellow cotton candy in the shape of an elephant. I want it in real life. Something I can hold in my hands and eat.”

(Haha parang bata lang, candy ang hinihingi 😅)

My prayer request in my journal app

I didn’t want to SEE a photo or a video of a cotton candy elephant on social media or a billboard. I wanted it in real life.

Then I mostly forgot about my prayer request.

Two weeks later, I was supposed to have lunch at my friend Airees’ house, but at the last minute we decided to eat lunch in SM Sta. Rosa instead.

It was my first time in SM Sta. Rosa. While walking to lunch we passed by a stall selling cotton candy in different shapes. The first thing that caught my eye was a photo of their cotton candy elephant, but I thought nothing of it.

I didn’t remember my prayer request until much later, when Airees and I were having lunch. I told her, “Parang gusto ko ng cotton candy. Balik tayo doon sa stall ng cotton candy mamaya.”

So after lunch, we headed back to the stall. I told her about my prayer request from two weeks ago. Medyo kinikilig na ko knowing that my blue, pink, and yellow cotton candy elephant was about to be granted.

Me: Kuya, isang elephant po.
Kuya: Ay sorry ma’am, out of stock po.
Me: Ha? Bakit?
Kuya: Wala po kasi kami nung tool na panggawa nung shape na yun.
Me (disappointed): Ahh, ganon…

I was disappointed I wasn’t going to get my answered prayer that day, after all. I was getting ready to turn away but thought—NO. I AM GOING TO AT LEAST TRY.

Me: Sige na Kuya, baka pwede naman!
Kuya: Di po talaga ma’am, di pa din kasi kami nakagawa nung ganyang design.
Me: Hindi, kaya niyo yan! Madali lang naman yan diba?
Kuya: Ibang design na lang ma’am, baka kasi hindi kagaya nung sa picture yung lumabas…
Me: Sige na kuya, kaya niyo yaaaaannn!!!!

After a few minutes of back and forth, cajoling the kuyas to attempt the elephant design (“Subok lang naman, di mo malalaman kung di mo susubukan. At least i-try mo!” -Airees), they finally relented (due to our kakulitan), but not without a disclaimer that the final product might not look like the one in the picture.

So the kuya started making the cotton candy elephant.

“May isa pa akong request, Kuya,” I said. “Pwede bang gamitan niyo ng blue, pink, and yellow yung elephant?”

So right then and there I saw my prayer request being granted right in front of me: a blue, pink, and yellow cotton candy in the shape of an elephant.

Super kenkoy lang lumabas nung elephant (the kuyas were sheepishly laughing at their own work) but that’s what’s so fun about it! I was so happy and thrilled with my cotton candy that I tipped the kuya P20 for his effort 😛

Medyo nahiya ako I was being makulit and insistent with my elephant order (considering my age!) but in the end… kebs!

Airees: Pag pasensiyahan niyo na ‘tong kaibigan ko ha, naglilihi kasi…
Kuya: Halata naman ma’am…

Takeaways:

1. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
Notice how this is a conditional statement? God says that IF you remain in Him and His words are in you, ask and God will answer your prayer.

So how do you do that?

This is easier said than done, but in a nutshell, you need to be united in a relationship with God and immerse yourself in His Word (the Bible) so that you come to know His heart. To better illustrate this: if you spend time on and invest in a relationship with a friend, over time you get to know his/her quirks, preferences, desires, secrets. You wouldn’t ask your friend to go to dancing with you at the club if he’s a shy introvert who would prefer going to the library. You wouldn’t invite your friend to eat at a ramen place if you know she doesn’t like noodles. Similarly, if you spend time with God and His Word, coming to a place in your relationship when you start to come to know His character, qualities, and nature, you will learn to know how and what to ask of Him– things not out of selfishness but for the greater good, and things that would glorify Him when He grants you what you ask for.

2. You also have to WORK for your answered prayers.
The problem with a lot of young Christians is that they’re passive and all they do is ask, ask, ask, never lifting a finger and leaving all the results up to God. Then they wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayers. You can’t ask God for financial provision if you just sit on the couch just praying and praying and never get up and send out job applications. You can’t ask God to send you “the one” if you don’t go out of the house and don’t put in effort to making yourself presentable to other people.

Oftentimes, God will present you the opportunity but you still have to put in the work. I realize now that God had presented me with HALF of my answered prayer– the cotton candy stall– but I had to put in the other half to get my answered prayer. If I had turned away when the kuya first said no and if I hadn’t been insistent in asking him to make my blue, pink, and yellow cotton candy elephant, I wouldn’t have gotten my prayer answered.

So there, learned my lesson on how God wants me to be specific in prayer. And it was a nice way of God showing out for me and indulging me in a personal way.

I hope this inspires you to reflect on praying your own specific prayers, and I pray that you, too, have moments where God makes Himself known to you personally, in big ways and small ways, like in my blue, pink, and yellow cotton candy elephant.

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