Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

God’s “Ordinary” Answers to Prayer

Look at the birds of the air . . .
–Matthew 6:26

Years ago I heard kind of a modern-day parable. It goes like this:

A certain man lived in a town that was flooding. The water level rose above the streets, making cars useless. The man was sitting on his porch and praying when a raft came by. “Hop on in, we’ll save you,” said the people in the raft. “No, the man replied. “I have prayed and God promised that He would save me.”

The waters kept rising, flooding the first floor of the man’s house. He went up to the second floor and continued to pray. A boat stopped by. “Come on in, we’ll save you,” said the boat’s passengers. “No, the man replied. I have prayed and God promised that He would save me.”

The waters continued to rise, forcing the man to climb upon is roof. A helicopter eventually hovered over his roof. They dropped down a rope and begged him to grab it. “Let us help you or you’ll die,” they pleaded. “No, the man replied. I have prayed and God promised that He would save me.”

The man drowned.
He was disappointed as he stood before God. “Lord,” he said, “you promised you would save me. Why didn’t you?”

“I sent a raft, a boat, and a helicopter,” God replied, “what else did you want me to do?”

Sometimes we fail to recognize God’s intervention and activity. We pray, but then we demand that God answer us according to our own plans and ideas (which can be quite grandiose). If God’s answer seems too ordinary or obvious, we conclude that it isn’t of Him.

We need to understand that God often answers prayers in very simple ways:

He is more likely to send a friend than an angel.

He is more likely to send wise advice than heavenly visions.

He is more likely to send a job opportunity than an envelope full of money.

Jesus performed numerous miracles, yet He also encouraged His followers to see God’s activity in “insignificant” things. He drew their attention to birds and flowers, noting that God sustains these humble forms of life.

Faith is trusting God to do great, marvelous, and unexplainable things. True faith, however, also sees God at work in the mundane.


  1. wow….I’m a born again christian. Very simple but yet very powerful. Glory to God.!

  2. good read 🙂 i just read an article about that same story here.
    True, God’s answers to prayers can be seen in
    (1)Ordinary circumstances
    (4)God’s word

    God, help us open our eyes and hearts 🙂

  3. Got 2 questions-

    1)is it possible that sometimes, rafts, helicopters and boats we thought came from God actually did not?

    2) and so how do we distinguish which ones he sent? there come times when there are many doors beckoning on us..

  4. 1). It is possible, yes; but I think God will make it clear in such cases.

    2). If God has a specific preference, He will make it clear (see my post on Joseph and the Christmas Story). Otherwise, we would have an excuse not to follow.

    There are times when He seems to leave the choice to us. There are times when we simply have to make the most logical choice and ask God to intervene if it is not what He wants.

  5. salamat!

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