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Shoestring Budget Prayers

A student with little money finds that if she trusts in the power of prayer, she’s sure to get by.

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As a doctoral student, I was on a shoestring budget. One week, after I had paid all my bills, I went grocery shopping with the cash I had left over. Please, God, let me have enough money to buy basics for the week, I prayed. But when I added up everything in my shopping cart, I realized I had to put one item back.

Just then the oddest sensation hit me, as though an inner voice were telling me, “You will have enough oil.” Odder still, I put the oil back, knowing I didn’t have any in my kitchen. When I got home I took out the ingredients for the bread I was planning on baking and searched for oil. I looked in the cupboard, in the refrigerator. I even looked in the freezer. Just as I thought. No oil.

I sank down onto my rocking chair, wondering what to do. I remembered that promise in the supermarket. OK, Lord, I thought as I stood up. If there’s some oil here, show me.

With that, I opened the refrigerator again. There, on the inside of the door, was my grandmother’s elegant etched-glass salad dressing cruet. I had used it to make salad dressing long ago. I picked it up. It still had a few inches of olive oil left with some herbs floating on top. It was exactly the amount I needed.

The bread I baked had a delicious, spicy flavor to it, and it kept me well fed until payday. The lesson in faith has nourished me much longer.

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