Yesterday morning, after the alarm went off, I lay in bed and said a brief prayer: "Lord, please send ten visitors to worship this morning." At 11:00, I looked around the sanctuary and counted - eleven. I must admit it freaked me out a little bit. I don't think prayer is like getting your three wishes from the genie where you have to be careful what you ask for. I'm enough of a Presbyterian to believe that God will do as God sees fit and that I'm in no position to force God's hand. That being said, I also want to be sure God knows what I want. It's why I pray for healing even in the most desperate of circumstances; it may not be what happens, but it sure is what the family wants at that moment. And God is big enough to handle us speaking frankly.
What if I had prayed for ten visitors and there had only been nine? Or five? Or two? Or none? I don't know what that might mean. If there hadn't been any, my guess is that I would still know that God heard my prayer; but I would probably begin to think that all this talk about growth at OPC was simply not in the cards.
But to pray for ten and to get eleven? That sends me down a different path. Could it be a matter of pure chance? Absolutely. At times I'm enough of a skeptic to put that possibility first (or a close second). But yesterday, I felt it differently. To me it was a confirmation of our desire to have an even greater impact on our wider community.
And that "extra" one? Well, as Nigel Tufnel says, "It's one louder, isn't it?" Maybe it's a nudge to expect blessings to be greater than we might ever imagine...