November 12, 2022

My “Stupid” Prayer

Lori Futcher

“And God, please let us know how we can help those who have been affected by the storm,” I prayed as my family gathered around for morning worship.

As soon as the words came out, I mentally kicked myself. Why do you think you can do anything to help? I was in poor health, barely strong enough to fix my family’s dinner. Certainly, I wouldn’t be cutting up tree branches and cleaning up debris. We were struggling financially. Our shoestring budget barely included enough for food and bills, let alone extras; so, I wouldn’t be able to contribute financially. My husband was scheduled to work an extra-long day; he wouldn’t be able to devote any time to being the answer to my prayer.

Yet I longed to do something to help those whose lives had been interrupted by the severe windstorm that had hit our corner of Tennessee. 

Perhaps it was because I knew what it was like to be in an area devastated by a storm. Only a few months before, a tornado had destroyed 12 houses in our neighborhood. Amid the destruction, I was inspired by neighbors pulling together to help one another. I had sat on my front porch and waited for the news as my husband and a neighbor ran to pull other neighbors out from under the rubble. When we learned everyone was OK, efforts turned toward cleanup. My husband bought a chainsaw and helped our next-door neighbors cut up a fallen tree between our yards. And as we waited for electricity to come back on, we became accustomed to the Red Cross meal deliveries throughout our neighborhood.

Though this most recent windstorm wasn’t as severe and hadn’t caused any damage to our own neighborhood, still my heart went out to those who’d been affected by it. Concluding, however, that there was absolutely nothing I could do, I went about my day, forgetting about my “stupid” prayer.

“Does anybody have a chainsaw I could borrow?” Kent, one of my local friends, posted on Facebook. 

Always happy to help, I told Kent he could use the one we’d just recently purchased if he could stop by my house to pick it up. A few hours later he was standing outside my garage as I located the chainsaw and handed it over. 

“Thank you so much!” he exclaimed. “My neighbors are trapped at home. I’m going to use this to cut up the tree that blocked their driveway after last night’s storm.”

Suddenly I remembered my prayer. It hadn’t been so stupid after all! God wasn’t looking for the strongest person. He wasn’t looking for the richest person or the person with the most free time. He was looking for someone who was willing. 

On that day, when I was sure there was nothing I could do to help, God found a role for me. 

Lori Futcher is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and speaker living in Nampa, Idaho.