And then I saw answers. Answer after answer after answer. Specific prayers answered before my eyes. Houses. Cars. Finances. Babies. There were too many things adding up -- too many "coincidental" times that something would happen, and I would think, "Huh. I prayed for that."
And I forget when it suddenly dawned on me -- when the moment was when I turned to Elliott -- and I said tentatively, "Hey... Elliott? I think I have the gift of intercessory prayer."
I expected a, "Maybe," at best, and perhaps more likely a, "We don't want to rush to conclusions," but instead I was met with a, "You know, I really think you do have that gift."
The thing is, it's actually a little ironic that I have this specific gift, because a huge reason of why I have difficulty trusting God comes from a case of major unanswered prayer when I was in fifth grade. That's a post in and of itself, so I'll save it for later. But as I've grown closer and closer to the Lord, He has put things on my heart that I immediately know I am supposed to pray for. And I do. And then they happen.
I'm learning a lot about this whole intercessory-prayer-thing too. It's not like God's a genie and I go around asking people what they want and then get it for them. It's more about discernment. Someone asks me to pray for something, and I bring that person before the Lord. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see how best to pray for them. And then I tell them how I am specifically praying for them. I think this is so important, because I want God to get the glory when He answers the prayer.
And other times, I don't even have to dwell on it. I see someone and immediately feel a prayer rising from within me. It's inexplicable. It's surreal. It's the Holy Spirit.
As soon as I realized I had this gift, I knew I had to be... deliberate with it. I think that's the word. Deliberate in prayer, and deliberate in seeking growth. I felt a responsibility had been given to me, and I wanted to develop it -- and giving God the glory in the process. So I prayed for help with growth.
And the answer to that prayer was surprising. But God-like. Because He answered my prayer for growth by not answering my intercessory prayers for myself.
Remember how I talked about growing through unanswered prayers?
...to be continued...