Have you ever prayed for something--I mean the kind of prayer Elijah prayed before the rains stopped for three and a half years--but nothing happened? We know God answers prayers and that He's capable of granting us the desires of our hearts, but sometimes we forget that God answers prayers in His own time.
A question that most persons--even Christians--ask at some point is: Why are some prayers not answered? What we really want to know is why wasn't my prayer answered.
I don't know the answer to the second question but I can at least tell you what the Bible says in response to the first. The books of James has these intriguing words:
Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:2c-3 NKJV).
So, wait. We don't get what we want because we don't ask, and we don't what we want when we do ask because we're asking for the wrong reasons? Yup! That pretty much sums it up.
I know that doesn't help when you're praying earnestly for something or even for someone, but I'm sure if you take a minute to think about it you'll realize how true it is.
Many times we're praying for good things but our motivations--our hearts--are in the wrong place.
You may think I'm crazy so let me give you an example: praying for a job is a good thing. The Bible tells us that if a man is unwilling to work he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But praying for work because you doubt God's ability to provide speaks of lack of faith and reliance on self.
It's okay to pray for good things, but we must be sure to pray for the right reasons.
As Christians, we sometimes struggle to maintain a strong prayer life because we wonder what's the use of praying. We know prayer works and that God answers prayers in His own time, but we still struggle because we wonder if we're praying according to God's will.
My friend, I know exactly how you feel but I want to encourage you--encourage us--that no prayer request is too big or small for God.
Keep praying and God will either grant you the desires of your heart, or He will change your desires so they align with His.
One of the major themes I picked up in the book Christmas in Winter Hill was that God answers prayers in His own time. Krista had just accepted a job as the city manager of a mountain town called Winter Hill. She relocated with her young daughter. The longer she was in the town, the more she wondered if maybe she has made a mistake.
Everyone in Winter Hill seemed to be obsessed with the annual Christmasville celebration and expected her to be too.
But Krista hated Christmas and had a number of valid reasons why she should. Meanwhile, her daughter had been praying for a miracle and Krista didn't know if God was up to answering Emily's prayer.
Christmas in Winter Hill is a Hallmark movie in book format. It was easy to read and the characters were fun to get to know. The plot wasn’t very complicated and I read it as a modern rendition of the Christmas story complete with Santa, Scrooge and the Grinch.
Krista and Emily were more developed than the other characters but still remained pretty two-dimensional. And while I liked Conner, I felt that the romance between him and Krista was a bit forced.
I was happy that Ms. Carlson did not claim the characters were in love because while they had some contact, it wasn’t enough, in my opinion, to create a genuine connection.
Know God—the faith elements in this book were not very strong and Krista did not seem to have a lot of faith. She seemed to believe that some prayers would not be answered in spite of the faith of the person who prayed.
Thankfully, she did not dissuade her daughter from praying big prayers or expecting God to work miracles. Krista reminds me of myself and so many other Christians—we believe God can work miracles but we somehow limit Him to the things we believe are possible.
Know yourself—In order for Krista to start feeling even an inkling of the Christmas spirit, she had to work through some of the things in her past. This is a reminder to the reader that each of us has things in our past that we need to deal with but we really ought to work on healing so we don’t rob ourselves of treasures in our present—or worse, our future.
Run your race—Krista had been on her own for so long she had forgotten what it was like to depend on others for help. While we each have our independent journeys, we are not islands.
God created us as social beings because He wanted us to connect with each other even as we got on with the business of fulfilling our purpose.
The romance between Krista and Conner was not a prevalent feature of Christmas in Winter Hill as it was more of a Christmas magic kind of tale. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light, feel-good read.
I received an advanced reader copy as part of the Revell Reads program; a positive review was not required. Have you read Christmas in Winter Hill? What did you think? Purchase your copy on Amazon.
Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.
As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?
Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you'll never forget--and never want to leave.
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year.
She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.