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Does God Hear Prayer? A Real-Life Example

James Fraser 2Does God Hear Prayer?

James Fraser was a missionary in the early 1900’s to the remote Lisu people who lived on the border of China and Burma.  At the beginning of his missionary work he was transformed by how God heard and answered his prayer.  Here’s what happened:

A war had broken out in China which threatened the lives of foreigners.  So Fraser traveled across the border into Burma, where he expected to have room and board with fellow-missionaries.  But when he arrived he discovered they had left for England because of health concerns, leaving only a few days’ worth of food in the kitchen.

He knew his regular financial support check should be on its way in the mail from London.  But the war had disrupted the mail in China, and deliveries between China and Burma were inconsistent at best.

So there he was.  Not knowing anyone, with little food and less money, waiting for the mail.  And before long he was out of money — and almost out of food.

No Mail

Every few days he visited the post office and ask if his letter from London had arrived.  But every time the annoyed clerk told him no mail was being delivered from China, and that he should not expect any.

So what did he do?  He trusted God’s promises.  Psalm 37:3-5 was specially helpful (from the King James Version which he used) —

Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt though dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way to the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.

This promise encouraged him to keep praying.  So he did.  Day after day.

But still — no mail.

Owe No Man Anything

Then things got worse.  He had hired someone to help him, promising to pay him on a certain day.  But now that day was approaching, and he had no money.

But he remembered how Paul said we should “owe no man anything, but to love one another.”  And he knew God would not want him to owe money to his worker.  So he continued praying, even more fervently, asking God to bring the mail with the money.

But still — no mail.

God Does Hear Prayer

Then the day came on which he had promised to pay his helper.  And he had no money.  So he prayed again — even more earnestly.  He pleaded with God to hear his prayer and provide the needed money.

And this time, as he prayed, he felt impressed that he should immediately go to the post office.  So he did, and was surprised that the clerk was happy to see him.

The clerk told him one letter had arrived — addressed to him.  It had traveled from London to the east coast of China, through war-torn China to the far western region, where it crossed the border into remote Burma — arriving the very day he needed the money to pay his helper.

Here’s how he described this in a letter to his mother —

I have told you all this because it is the most direct interposition of God in providence which I have yet experienced; and has done not a little to strengthen my faith.  No one here knew of my situation … The Lord, I believe, permitted the trial just to show me how He could deliver me out of it.

(From Behind the Ranges: Fraser of Lisuland, by Mrs. Howard Taylor, pp.53-55.)


  • Whether it’s money owed to a worker, or facing Pharaoh’s armies while trapped at the Red Sea, or being in an Egyptian dungeon for years — God often lets trials grow so the final deliverance will display His glory all the more.  So keep trusting, and praying.  God will deliver (Psa 50:15).
  • God delivers in different ways.  God freed Peter from Herod, but allowed James to be killed by Herod (both in Acts 12).  But both were delivered: Peter into earthly freedom, and James into God’s presence.  So trust that God will deliver you in whatever way will bring you the most joy in Him.
  • Understand that God hears every prayer you pray in Jesus’ name — and that he will either do exactly what you ask, or something even better, which he probably would not have done had you not asked (Matt 7:7-11).
  • So if trials continue, and increase, don’t assume God is not listening.  Don’t stop praying.  Don’t give up.  He hears every prayer.  He will bring a glorious deliverance at exactly the right time (Psa 40:1-3).

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Category: Help with Prayer, Stories about Other People


10 Responses

  1. Ron R. says:

    I really enjoyed reading more about God’s promises. It is so refreshing to hear how God indeed answers prayers- sometimes we just don’t see exactly what he does. I look forward to being able to look back at my life and see exactly what the Lord has done to answer my prayers. I am sure that I only know a fraction of what he has actually done. But I look forward to the day that the veil will be revealed and I will be able to see all that he has done. Thanks for sharing the way God met and answered John Fraser’s prayer.

  2. Wisdom paschal says:

    I am really encouraged by this true life story. When the answer to my prayer is not fortcoming, I will still persist in prayer.

  3. Nan says:

    I love hearing personal testimonies of answered prayers. It strengthens my faith and inspires me to persevere. Please keep them coming.

  4. mark says:

    Steve, I`m in a certain situation. I`ve decided to tithe and give offerings, off the top, and almost out of gas and money. my faith is wavering, but excited to see how God answers my prayers.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Mark,

      I am confident that as you’ve been trusting Christ, he will supply everything you need financially, and in every other way.

      That does not mean he will supply everything we want, or even everything WE think we need. But he will supply everything in such a way that we can have the greatest heart-satisfaction in him, now and forever.

      Let us know what he does, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  5. Philip D. says:

    I understand the testimony is touching but I find it hard to relate to such little troubles when I am going through a hurricane. I was convicted of a felony for an act that occurred when I was 15. I went to college and tried to join the Navy. They kicked me out of the reserves with a $56000 debt. Then went to lawschool $100000 more in debt. Passed the bar and now facing denial of admission. I have been a diligent Christian with my faults. I have tutored others to success beyond measure. I have interviewed with every top law firm in the U.S to no avail. I have a third child on the way bc I don’t believe in abortion. I have been in this struggle for over 13 years. I helped so many homeless people, some refuse to take my money. Mind you I never had extra money to give. I am not saying this to show my good deeds but to show that I lived for the heart of Christ. N now I have personal debt over $200000. I cry to God but nothing. I wish to be relieved from my struggle. I am exhausted. I have lost the spark for life, even with my children that I could never take care of such as 800 day care a month. Then I can only get 10 an hour jobs bc of my record. Tell me. Is it my fault. Am I the worst person in the world. If so, I pray the God kills me now. Please pray for me!

    • Thandiwe says:

      God is able. Never underestimate his promise that says I will never leave you nor forsake you. For he knows the plans He has for you, to prosper you not fail. Just be still and listen to his small voice.

      Im in a difficult situation myself at work and Im learning to trust him. Despite the persecution and inspite of my weaknesses he is able.

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