In an earlier Daily Dose of Hope, I mentioned that serving others with a pure intention of helping them, without looking to gain, is how you plant the seeds of your future success. Prayer is a very powerful way to serving them without them even knowing it.
The Prayer List Experiment
It was the fruit of a rough month, when absolutely nothing in my business was moving forward. We just barely managed to pay June rent and I didn’t want July to be the same way. I was searching for answers to a problem. A few months earlier, during prayer, the Lord asked me to begin being an answer to prayers rather than always seeking to have my own answered. I realized that if I was having this much trouble in my business, the people I wanted as future clients might well be having trouble in theirs. Praying for them daily would be a way that I could start to serve them.
I made a list of 160 names in the beginning. I put on that list people I’d served in the past, people that sought me out with potential work for me to do, people who were currently employing my services, people who were my dream clients, and people whom I thought were not my ideal clients but might benefit from working with me in the future.
The Experiment Begins
This was really the perfect blind experiment. None of these people knew I was praying for them. Nobody else knew they were on my list. That very first day, as I made the list, I also included people that my husband wanted to get to know. I sat down and divided the 160 names into blocks of 10 and gave a Hail Mary for each of those names. When I was through praying, an idea came to me to reach out to one of the names on that list.
The man’s name was Hershel House. Hershel is a famous blacksmith who revived the crafting of the black powder rifles from frontier days. My husband was into blacksmithing. I knew Hershel apprenticed Daniel Casey, star of the show Iron and Fire. I thought perhaps he’d be willing to apprentice my husband in exchange for my help writing a book that would capture the craft to pass down to future generations. I did quite a bit of research and put together a birthday card for Hershel, then mailed it off. I didn’t know what to expect.
The Phone Begins to Ring
Before June, I wasn’t gaining much traction in my business. I was chasing clients constantly. Within one week of starting this experiment, I received a phone call from someone I’d never met who was referred to me by someone they didn’t think even knew me but received my business card somehow. I added his name to my list. Then, someone else on the list paid me a down payment on my writing classes. A third call came that week from a friend I’d made through a mastermind group that I belonged to who suggested the two of us form a mastermind group of our own. I agreed.
Thinking Through Success
The week after that, there were 25 calls in one week from various people. Some were on my list, some were not, some were referrals from people already on the list. It was the busiest week I’d had in my business. During the weekly mastermind call with Bobby Kountz, I asked a very important question:
If all of the people on my list – by now there were over 300 names on it – were to decide to hire my services all at the same time, how would I continue to give them the same one-on-one, personalized attention I was giving them now without adding 300 hours to my week?
Later during that call, I also brought up a project that I was interested in putting our energy into making a reality. It would be a seminar for writing instructors and teachers designed to help them understand their true potential to impact the world. We would call it “Writing the World a Better Place: A Thought Leadership Seminar for English Teachers and Writing Instructors.”
As an education major, I knew that English teachers often felt taken for granted and undervalued. Their paychecks usually reflected this. Administration often appreciated them only slightly more than art or music teachers, and usually for the same reason: they did not really understand the power that writers have to influence the minds and hearts of generations.
Yet I also knew that if you could break through the mindset that teaching writers doesn’t matter that much and show them just how powerful their potential was to make a difference, we might be able to begin building inroads to peace faster than ever thought possible by raising up a generation of people who were devoted to the mission of using their words to have a positive impact on the world around them. My own personal goal of helping people to write the world a better place would have a veritable army of people ready to swing into action to begin building the infrastructure that would be needed to make my vision a reality.
June 28, 2016: The Call from Hershel HouseI received a call from Hershel House exactly 20 days after I began praying for him and his two brothers. The call was not to tell us no, but to seek more information. We haven't been able to connect since then, but it was further confirmation of the merits of the path I'd chosen to take.
The Deepening Reality
As I continued to pray for my client list over the next six weeks, what I began to see form was a pattern. My prayers set in my mind a deliberate intention to serve. I would be connected with people or information that would provide me ideas about what I could create that would allow me to serve their needs even before the two of us met. When I was finished creating what they needed, I would meet the right person to connect the two of us together, and all three of us would find in one another the answer to our own prayers.
The True Power of Prayer
The true power of prayer is not that it changes the world around you, but that it changes you to prepare you to serve the world. Prayers for people will change you into the person you need to be to serve them. Prayers for money or positions or circumstances will change you into the person you need to be in order to do what it will take to get the money, achieve the position, or live in the circumstances you desire.
Prayer and Hope
Many people lose hope when praying. This is usually because they have false expectations of what prayer will do for them. They think prayer is about getting something they want. They don’t understand that prayer is really entering into a conversation with God about your desires. Just as in any conversation, it is important to be sure that you are listening for God’s reply.
God Speaks In Signs and Symbols
God is in constant communication with us. However, most of us don’t know how God speaks. We expect Him to use words like we do. So when we don’t “hear” from Him, we assume He does not exist. However, God speaks in signs and symbols. If you want to understand how God speaks, you need only study how the subconscious mind speaks to us in our dreams.
Understanding Your Dreams
I do dream interpretation. I’m fairly good at it. If you have a dream you’d be interested in having me interpret for you, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To understand the meaning of a dream, you have to look beyond what a thing is to see what it does and how you feel about it.
For example, in a dream, a house is not usually just a house. Think about what a house is. It’s a place where you live, a place where you are (usually) comfortable. It is a place that holds all your stuff.
In other words, dreaming about a house is really dreaming about you. Dreaming about your bedroom is a dream about the truly intimate parts of yourself that you don’t share with anyone else.
Dreaming about your living room is dreaming about your public self. Dreaming about your laundry room is a dream about the “dirty laundry” of your past – the things you try to hide from other people or that you don’t like to discuss. A dream about your kitchen is a dream about your creative abilities especially as they pertain to creating the things that sustain life. A dream about your pantry is a dream about safety and comfort. An empty pantry means you’re feeling empty of the ingredients needed to create safety and comfort.
The World Is a Co-Creation of You, God, and Other People
The world around you is being continuously created in cooperation with you. You decide 1/3 of what goes into that world. God and the people around you create in response to what you’ve done. Thus it is an ongoing conversation. To understand what God is trying to say to you about your prayers, look at what’s been created in your world and look past what it is to see what it does and how it behaves and how that makes you feel.
An Example of Prayers Not Answered
Let’s say you are praying for a job opportunity to open up for you. Nothing is coming. No one is calling. You become angry, assuming God isn’t answering your prayer. You reach out to your spouse, who suggests that perhaps it is time to give yourself permission to go back to doing a job you really loved doing but left because you didn’t know how to survive on the small money they were paying back then. You aren’t sure, but hope blossoms.
That afternoon, you receive an email from a radio station in an area you know you would love to be and already have ties into the community that would ease the transition. You need money to relocate, though. You also have another obstacle, in your path. One that will require $1,000 to clear up. It must be resolved before you would even be eligible for the position.
Suddenly, things change. You lose your apartment and must move in with a family friend. It seems God did not answer your prayer. Or did he?
You were praying and God answered
You were praying that God would provide you a means of taking care of yourself and your family's financial needs. You weren't looking at all of their needs, just the ones on the surface. However, God wanted you to have all of your needs met - spiritual, emotional, financial, physical, and mental. He wanted that same thing for the rest of your family. The direction you were looking was not in alignment with the purpose for which He created you. It would never lead you to your most fulfilling and satisfying life. He wanted more for you, so He kept the doors shut that you were trying to open.
Because He stood in your way, you reached out to your spouse for help you weren't willing to accept from her earlier in your journey.
Your spouse was praying for you to find a job but one that would ultimately lead you closer to God. You didn’t know that. You were focused on bringing in an income and providing for the family. Your relationship with God was not your foremost consideration. It was hers.
God took a look at the division in purpose between the two of you and choose a path forward that would lead the two of you closer together and answer both of your prayers simultaneously while moving you closer to serving others by fulfilling your purpose. That way you, your spouse, God, and the world all get a win.
The email from the radio station was confirmation from God this is the path He wanted you to take.
The radio station communicated their need for your talents loud and clear. They also needed your wife’s talents. It would be a win on multiple levels for everyone involved. However, there were the hurdles still to jump before your path would be opened up and you would be ready to make the move.
You lose your apartment. This seems like a bad thing on the outset, but losing it means you no longer have to try and figure out how to catch up what you owed and get the travel money together. You are free to focus on clearing out the $1,000 obstacle so you can get on your way the minute the station is ready to receive you.
You also no longer have to worry about packing up an apartment or hiring movers to take you across country. You are free to go the minute the call comes once you clear out the $1,000 obstacle.
Keeping Hope During the Waiting Time
While you pray, keep looking for God to connect you with people, to lead you down a path that builds new relationships. Continue to serve others and look for new routes to try that you may not have considered previously. Above all, move forward with confidence knowing that God will always seek a path forward that solves as many problems as possible.