“The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.” (Ps. 21:1-2 NIV)
It was a difficult habit to establish, this habit of praying every time there is a problem. I wish I could say I have mastered this, but I find there are still moments when I forget. Nonetheless, I can truthfully say that every time I did pray about a problem, every time I trusted Him with the outcome, every time I listened to my Heavenly Father, miracles happened. I have experienced first-hand the joy that results from God’s victories, and how, when my heart’s desires are in line with God’s, He grants me the desires of my heart. In fact, I can honestly say that no matter what, as long as my requests of God were not selfish in nature, He has never withheld the request of my lips.
It was a known phenomenon among older teachers that the quality of students was degrading. In the past, if a teacher had one difficult student in his or her class, it was a bad year. By the end of my teaching career, if I only had one student who was difficult, then it was a very good year!
True to this prediction, one of my last classes before I retired was full of problem students. There were several autistic kids in my class as well as two kids with severe behavior problems, and the rest of the class was completely unmotivated to learn. Fortunately for me, having had many years with one or two difficult students, I had learned the solution. Would it work for a whole class full of them?
I was determined to try, and I began going to school early to pray over every student’s desk.
Now some would say that this wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. I knew better, and it wasn’t long before I began seeing positive results in this class. Eventually it as one of the best teaching years I had ever experienced. I experienced firsthand God’s love as described in Psalm 21:
“You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.” (Psalms 21:3-5 NIV)
Soon others began noticing the changes in my students. They said it was “me”. They said I had a “way with students”. And it didn’t matter how many times I told them “I” had nothing to do with the transformation, that God was the One who deserved their praise, but they wouldn’t hear it. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter what they think. I know it was my Heavenly Father who helped those students turn around into great students, all thanks to prayer.
In the end, we had a great year. It all serves to remind me that no matter what it is we face, when we give it all to our Heavenly Father, He guides us, for He will never leave us or forsake us: “Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” (Psalms 21:5-7 NIV)
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)