Skip to content

Pray Before You Buy – The Microwave

February 3, 2011

One of the things covered in the Consumer Detox book is our adventure of faith through following Richard Foster’s suggestion of pausing to pray before we buy something. OK, it’s a bit of a suburban adventure. We didn’t have to swing on any ropes or anything. But, in the words of Naked Gun’s Lieutenant Frank Drebin, ‘it may not amount to a whole hill of beans. But this is our hill and these are our beans’.

Anyway, I digress. The ‘pray before you buy’ experiment involves waiting for two weeks before a major purchase. Pray – ask God if you need it, and if you do genuinely need it, ask him to bring it another way. If nothing happens after two weeks, and you’re still sure it’s something worth having, then go ahead and buy. More details are in the book (ch 8), which also includes our first ventures in this direction. But since the book was written there are a few more stories to share, like this one: the microwave.

To be honest, the ‘pray before you buy’ thing had fallen off our radar a bit. But what with having written it in the book and everything, I started to feel like a bit of a hypocrit. So when our microwave died, I seized my chance.  

‘What if we waited for a couple of weeks and prayed?’ I suggested. ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ Ails replied (in her defence, I do say an awful lot of ridiculous things only some of which are jokes). Anyway, following a failed attempt to buy something on eBay (the guy sold it to us then dropped it the next day!) we decided to give it a shot.

(For what it’s worth, I’m not going to justify having a microwave here – everyone must make their own choices and take responsibility for them. Simpler living should never be about stone throwing. Unless it’s by a beach with kids.) 

So we prayed. ‘Father, give us a microwave’. Interesting prayer. Cynics note: Do we forget that all our stuff is actually a gift from God? Just because we can buy it in an instant online or snap it up with a card in a shop, doesn’t mean that we don’t depend utterly on God for it. And how about the objection that God is too ‘big’ for microwave prayers? Well, take the money we save from not buying one and see what it might do for poorer families round the world… Maybe it’s not such a small prayer after all.

I can’t remember how many days we prayed for. Obviously it wasn’t a kind of all night vigil thing. I think often the waiting itself is a kind of prayer. As it says in The Message: ‘silence is praise to you… // and also obedience // you hear the prayer in it all’. However long it was, it was less than a fortnight.

One day, during this time, I came downstairs to find Ailsa chatting with a friend. Somehow the microwave/prayer thing came up. Then the friend, Rosnah, said, ‘Oh we have a microwave that needs a good home’. Seriously, I was amazed. We hadn’t emailed round friends or made a fuss at the front of church. It just came up naturally and, sure enough, God answered our prayer. Not just any microwave, either – a really handy grill/convector/microwave that Rosnah’s dad genuinely didn’t want because it was too high spec for him. It was literally too good.

What do we get out of this episode? A bit more faith. A story to tell. And hot milk for the kids when its needed.

More stories on their way soon.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 7:30 pm

    Are you suggesting the correct time to throw stones in only at children?

    Nice story though, like it. My problem is, what’s a big purchase? Our weekly food bill is probably about £40, our microwave cost about £30…

  2. Gilly Lacey permalink
    February 25, 2011 6:24 pm

    Nice story, but how about – Do we really need a microwave? How does having a microwave affect our relationships?
    On the plus side, it’s quick and uses less power than an ordinary cooker, however, it can be used to cook individual meals so that it is easier to eat separately than together.
    So, when we buy something we need to think about whether we can afford it? should we use the money for something else? how will having it affect the way we live? will it improve or detract from our relationships with family and friends? Even, how will it affect my relationship with God?

  3. Diane Grey permalink
    March 21, 2011 1:12 pm

    I love your site.
    As a missionary living in Eldoret Kenya I am always in a pickle about what to buy here.
    My house is huge compared to my neighbors and Kenyan friends and most of the time it’s just me. But I have a large house to have visitors from the West feel comfortable.

    I feel that I share the things that God has blessed and entrusted me with.
    Recently I found this scripture in the Message:
    The world of the generous gets larger and larger
    The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
    Pro. 11:24 What kind of world do you want?


  1. Tweets that mention Pray Before You Buy – The Microwave « Breathe --

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: