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How God answers our prayers when we pray selflessly

A Christian Adara woman prays while attending the Sunday's service at Ecwa Church, Kajuru, Kaduna state, Nigeria, on April 14, 2019.
A Christian Adara woman prays while attending the Sunday's service at Ecwa Church, Kajuru, Kaduna state, Nigeria, on April 14, 2019. | LUIS TATO/AFP via Getty Images

Sometime ago I noticed that God was no longer answering my numerous prayers. I had called God to heal my infirmity, help me pay the bills of my family and solve all our problems. But God seemed to be distant. Sometimes I added fasting to prayers with no results. One day the words of James 4:3 came alive in my heart: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

I came to realize that all my family's prayers were just about ourselves and our family's needs. Nothing else. So, we decided to change the way we pray. We shifted from “God provide for all our needs” to “God use us to meet the needs of the helpless.” We came to understand that Christianity is not about us but about the sacrificial lamb that was slain.

I must confess that since then, God has been faithful. Oftentimes when He uses us to meet the needs of the helpless, he also meets our needs. When we trust Him and focus on feeding others, God also feeds us.

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When I felt that my family needs a house of our own, we started praying that God should use us to build houses for at least two homeless widows. On the 24th of December last year, we embarked on an outreach to widows, orphans, single mothers, and indigent women in Enugu state, Southeast Nigeria. As we moved from house to house distributing food items, wrappers, and Bibles, we encountered a homeless 74-year-old widow who was living under a tree.

She told us how she had been marginalized, discriminated against, and stigmatized by the relatives of her husband after the death of her son.

We promised her a token to enable her to buy food on monthly basis. We communicated the plight of this widow to Pastor Benjamin Faircloth (President of World Outreach Ministries International) who later responded and volunteered to build a house for this homeless widow.

In January of this year, the fund for the building was sent to us and within two weeks we constructed and furnished a two-bedroom apartment for her. I could not believe the speed at which God answered the selfless prayer of building a house for a homeless widow. The dedication of the building attracted many people from nearby communities who came to see the wonder-working power of God in the life of a rejected, hopeless and homeless widow. I used the opportunity to preach Christ to them.

As I am writing this op-ed, construction is about to start on another building for a homeless 35-year-old widow who breaks stone to generate income to sustain her five vulnerable children. All we need is to make sure that we are not praying amiss.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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