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Duncan eventually clambered out of his hole (see Lamp Light) realising the error of his ways he decided to fix things. He walked back home and sat down to pray. ‘Lord please grant me self discipline, so I may avoid falling down more holes and things of that nature.’ The Lord did not answer Duncan. The next day Duncan again asked God for self discipline. Again he received no reply. For the rest of the week Duncan prayed every day for self discipline and still did not hear anything back from God.

Midway through the second week Duncan decided that God must not believe him to be serious in his request so he started praying twice a day that God would grant him self discipline. At the start of the third week Duncan decided that if God would not reply to him in the present he would look to the source of God’s word for all time, and so as well as praying twice a day Duncan also read the Bible everyday, searching for clues to living a more disciplined life.

In the fourth week Duncan looked up from one of his prayer sessions and realised he’d been letting things go a bit in the house, so as well as praying and reading the Bible, Duncan made regular time to clean his house. In the fifth week Duncan started taking regular exercise on top of everything else. In the sixth week Duncan decided to volunteer with some local charities. In the seventh week Duncan started writing down all the thoughts he was having as he prayed and read the Bible. In the eighth week Duncan died suddenly.

As Duncan stood before God in heaven he was filled with many questions, but one burned deeper than any others – ‘Lord, I have been praying for so long for self discipline, but you have never answered! Isn’t that a good request.’ Smiling the Lord showed Duncan his last two months on earth, how he had gone from praying every so often to every day, how from that regular practise he had started reading the Bible more, cleaned his house, got fit, helped others and how his notes had been discovered and were being published to help others. ‘Duncan,’ God said gently ‘you were so focused on the request, that you failed to acknowledge the gift.’

What have you been asking God for? How has he already answered your prayers?