What Happened When We Asked for 25

“I believe God is leading me to pray for 25 children,” Robin, our Vacation Bible School director, told us the week before VBS. Twenty-five may not sound like many, but for our church, which has mostly senior adults and empty-nesters, it was a bold prayer. 

So we began to ask. “Lord, please send us 25 children. We promise to love them, teach them your Word, and tell them about Jesus. We’ve planned the crafts, bought the snacks, practiced the lessons, and invited the neighborhood. We’ve done all we can do. Now you’ve got to send the children.” 

On the Sunday night before VBS began, our prayer group gathered once more to pray for 25 children.  
“Lord, send the children who most need to hear the good news about Jesus,” we said as we ended our prayer time. 

The next morning, two children came. 

“Well, Lord,” we prayed afterward, “we asked you to send the children who most needed to hear about you. Your Word says you always answer prayers, so these two must have been the ones who most needed to hear about you. Thank you for them.” 

The next day the two came back, and the Lord sent a few more children from a nearby daycare center. 

“Thank you, Lord, for the children you sent today,” we prayed. “But Lord, we’re still trusting you for 25.” 

On the third and fourth day, more children from the daycare came. We sang songs, taught Bible lessons, and continued to share the Gospel. 

On the fifth and final day, eighteen enthusiastic children poured from the daycare bus. Three women brought their grandchildren, and a church member picked up a neighbor’s child. 

“Josephus,” our Bible study leader stood in the corner during opening assembly and counted. I watched his lips moving . . . 22, 23, 24. 

“There are twenty-four children here today” he whispered in excitement. 

“Twenty-four?” I whispered back, “that’s wonderful.” But inside I was thinking, twenty-four, Lord? Why not twenty-five? You told Robin to ask for 25 children. You can do anything. One more child wouldn’t have been hard for you. 

Count the little heads -- they're all there! 25 precious children.
Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the back door swing open. The freckle-faced son of one of our newest church families sauntered in and took his place on the front row. Realizing what had just happened, I glanced at Josephus, who was grinning widely. 

Twenty-five he mouthed. 

Twenty-five indeed. 

Warm tears pricked my eyes, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me. God had answered two prayers for our little church. First, he sent us the children who most needed to hear the Gospel. Second, he gave our VBS director the vision and faith to ask for 25 children and fulfilled the vision he had planted in her heart. 

As I gazed at the pews full of children singing praise songs to Jesus, I realized anew the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:20: 

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 

God, grant us ears to hear God’s will, faith to pray it into being, and courage to not lose heart when the answer is slow in coming. In the strong name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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