SIONE: Today’s episode is all about one of the most valuable resources available to each and every one of us. But as valuable as it is, it won’t cost you or me or any one of us a single cent to use, and we can use it over and over and over again. We’re recounting the life lesson number three. Help is often just a prayer way.
SHOW INTRO: Life can be an amazing teacher, if we’re paying attention. The opportunities for learning and growth are infinite just like each of our potentials. This is the recounting life lessons podcast with Sione and Alana. Together, we share and recount our journey to discovering the lessons that life’s adventures have taught us,and why those same lessons can be significant for you. We are so glad you’re here.Who knows what kind of impact this week’s lesson can have on your life.
ALANA: Hey everyone, I had an experience, a couple days ago that initially had me laughing at myself. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how profound and timely this experience was especially since it was the very next day that I sat down to prepare for this episode. We were on our way home from church, and in my last class we had just had a conversation about what joy was, and someone shared an analogy of an umbrella. With this conversation still fresh in my mind as we pulled into the driveway it suddenly started pouring rain. It was one of those rains where the raindrops were super fat. As I gathered my things and opened the car door I braced myself and started to make a run for the front door of the house. As I started I thought about how much I really didn’t feel like getting wet at that moment, and so about a third of the way to the house I said a silent prayer, half jokingly, “Heavenly Father, one of those umbrellas or the rain stopping would be really nice right now.” The instant. The very instant I finished the thought and prayer, the rain completely stopped, and it disappeared as if it had never started. As I laughed out loud, now about five steps away from the awning of the house I heard a still small voice whisper, “You know, you could have just asked sooner”. Why hadn’t I thought to say a silent prayer before I got out of the car? Why did I wait until I was in the middle of the pouring rain? It was a mini lesson that reinforced the life lesson, we’ll be recounting for you today. It was like the Lord was telling me, “Alana, Don’t wait until you’re standing in the literal or figurative rains of life, to start praying for relief”. We owe so much of the joy and blessings that we experienced in our lives and our relationships to the recognition and practice of this lesson.
SIONE: In fact, without this lesson, this podcast our video series, even the circumstances that led to us meeting and becoming Sione and Alana would have never happened
ALANA: And why is that? It’s because prayer helped us find answers that led up to each of these moments. You may have already picked up on this but the relationships and feelings that Sione and I have with and about God, are a big part of our lives. And it’s a big part of who we are. When we made the decision to put a big part of what our lives are out on social media and the public, I personally struggled a bit about how much I wanted to, or needed to tone down or filter out the aspects of our faith and things that we’d be sharing. Not because I didn’t want to share those things or because I was ashamed of it, but because I never wanted anyone to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, but as it states in this lesson, like lesson number three, help is often just a prayer away. As I prayed about what might be best for us to do I was reminded and taught over and over again through various experiences that our mission, message, and passion is to help others have more joy in their lives. A main key to the joy we have in our lives is directly related to our faith and the relationships we personally have with Jesus Christ. So in order to share our story, and also what we feel would be of the most value for anybody who comes across our paths, we’ve decided not to filter or haphazardly brush over our thoughts or feelings on these matters. Our hope and prayer is that no matter your beliefs or faith anyone will be able to learn from our experiences, but never feel like we are telling them what to do.
SIONE: So today is going to be a little different in the fact that we won’t be sharing, so much, the house of applying this lesson. Instead, we wanted to take the time to share some personal experiences in which we’ve seen this lesson help us, and other people,
ALANA: We could easily get into the whole biological and psychological benefits of prayer because there are many, but for this discussion, we wanted to keep it simple. So first off, what do we mean by prayer?
SIONE: Prayer is a form of meditation and communication with God. As a child I was taught that prayer was an opportunity to thank God for the blessings in our lives and to ask him for things that we need for ourselves and others. My mom actually reminded me of an experience I had as a child I was probably seven eight years old. The whole family was in the van driving home from somewhere one evening, not sure where we were coming from when all of a sudden the van stopped working. We pulled over to the side of the road, my dad went out to take a look under the hood, and while he was trying to figure out what was wrong. My mom says that I suggested that we see a prayer that the van would start working. A prayer was said, and my father came back into the van and the van started to work. Simple small miracle, but that little experience is probably a big part of why I make sure that when I do need help I remember that help is often just a prayer away.
ALANA: We’ve found that prayer is a solution to both the big and the small problems or trials we face in this life.
SIONE: Yeah, there are decisions in our lives that can be categorized as big decisions. And while, big and small decisions are always relative to each individual. These are a few decisions that I personally feel are big. Decisions like, Who will I marry, what career should I pursue, and where do I want to live. In our first episode of our podcasts we mentioned how Alana and I had an idea of our dream spouse. Because I knew who I would marry was a major decision for me, I decided to ask God for a lot of help ’cause Heaven knows I needed it.
ALANA: We recently just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, and in doing so we shared on our social media 15 lessons we’ve learned during our years together. Some were silly but some were serious. And on the top of that list was that, like Sione mentioned, who you marry is one of the most important decisions you will make because it will impact every decision you make thereafter. So I agree that this is a big decision.
SIONE: Because of this actually started praying in my teenage years for God to help me become the person that would attract the type of person I wanted to marry. I remember my parents praying that my siblings and I would get help and that big decision on who to marry. And that’s a great thing about some of these big major decisions that you want help with. You can always enlist others to pray for you too. So, while attending Brigham Young University, I continued to pray to find the right person to marry. Of course I had to do my own homework so I went on dates. As I went on dates, that was my time to get to know a person to see what their values were, see how they treated people, friends and strangers, see how they treated their family members, and it was a chance to see how they handled my weaknesses and strengths. And then one semester, I finally met Alana, man all that praying helped because she fell for me the moment we met. Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how it happened. But we did get a chance to date, and we got to learn each other’s values and goals and see how we interacted with friends, strangers, and family members. I remember praying and specifically asking Heavenly Father to help me know if Alana was the right person to marry. I got my answer. But I still had to do my homework and ask her to marry me. So prayer can definitely help you in the major decisions in your life, but remember that sometimes you will have to do some of your own homework.
ALANA: And while I didn’t fall for Sione the moment we met, I actually thought he was out of my league. Once we did start dating, because I was praying about some of the very things that he was it took less than a week for me to know we’d end up getting married. And I think it was within the first week or so of dating that we actually voiced those feelings to each other.
SIONE: Yeah, like the second day,
ALANA: Possibly, it was fast. Maybe we’ll share more about that story in another episode. So when you say it helps to do your homework, that reminds me of something I have heard you say in the past about prayer. As we mentioned it’s a form of communication. And communication goes in two directions. When it goes in one direction, to me, it’s more of a lecture. So if you have a question and answer type of conversation going on when we are in the middle of any conversation, we’d act a certain way. Why don’t you share your drive thru analogy.
SIONE: So, this was just an analogy that I heard from different people at different times in my life. Imagine entering the drive thru at a McDonald’s or Burger King, or whatever fast food restaurant you’d like to go through. The person on the other end says “Hello my take your order?” You think you already know what you want to order, so you quickly tell the drive thru worker everything you want. But as you’re giving your order you realize that you are unsure about how many chicken nuggets you want so you ask, how many chicken nuggets are there in a box. Without waiting for an answer you move forward towards the drive thru window, and you continue to drive past the drive thru window, not receiving anything ordered, and not receiving an answer to your question. Sometimes we approach prayer this way. Instead of having a two way conversation with God we do a drive thru order of our needs. And before God can even confirm your order or make sure that we know how to pick up our order of needs we leave the prayer or meditation so quickly. It’s totally okay to take a little time and wait for some higher level of thoughts to enter your mind before leaving your prayer or meditation. Make it a two way conversation and don’t be in a hurry to leave so soon and not pick up your order.
ALANA: Prayer can also help us with little things. It can help us feel comforted when we are stressed out or having a bad day. It can help us focus when we need to get something done. It can help us slow down enough to listen to thoughts that will tell us where to find our cell phone that we misplaced, or even keep positive when plans that we are looking forward to fall through because of the weather. Even when we see our problems or trials as insignificant in comparison to some of the other catastrophes or problems going on in the world around us. Our prayers can be answered because they are being heard by a loving father, who cares. And while they may seem small in comparison to others, if it is something that we care about, we shouldn’t hesitate to talk about them with a loving Heavenly Father. Like the example I shared at the beginning of this podcast reminded me, we’re allowed to pray and ask for relief, no matter how big or small. Does it mean we’ll always get what we want? No, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the conversation.
SIONE: Yeah, sometimes people think why pray. What’s God’s gonna do? The way I’d respond to that question is, that’s a great question. But unfortunately, I’m not qualified to give an answer what God will do. We can ask Him together if you like.
ALANA: I love that! I love that we can enlist others to pray with us. I have a brother with down syndrome and when he was born he came six weeks early. I was 10 at the time and at school, when my mom went into labor and gave birth. There were a few complications. He ended up needing to be medi-vacced over to another hospital that was three hours away that could take care of his needs. Immediately word went out to our church community to pray for him. There was no social media at this time. They used a phone tree. But by the time he got to the other hospital, he was actually doing well enough that the hospital he was born in would have been able to handle his care. Here’s another experience. When I first started my paper flower business one of the ways prayer, helped me was helping me see things from a different perspective. I loved making arrangements and bouquets, but I soon started to see just how much time would go into coordinating with the buyer and even just arranging the flowers. Arranging paper flowers is a lot more complicated than you’d expect. Depending on the size and type of arrangement, they’d sell anywhere between $35 to $250 each. And they would take from the start of communication with the potential buyer to the end of the creation of these bouquets anywhere between one to four weeks, if I was working with a bride that knew what she wanted. So it could be much longer brides were my main target market and because these flowers were for such a special moment in their lives I felt honored that they were allowing me to be a part of this special occasion. But I soon started to realize that the amount of money I was making in relation to the amount of time that was going into each of these arrangements didn’t really add up and it was kind of selling myself short and not worth my time. To stay competitive I really couldn’t raise my prices to a price point I felt was fair and I needed some help for clarity. So I turned to my favorite business partner, the Lord, and prayed for guidance as to what I should do. That prayer led me to see how I could still make paper flowers for weddings, but to focus on making them for place card holders, favor box toppers, and table scatter instead of as bouquets. And that’s exactly what I did. I started off with designing only six types of flowers and had set colors to customize orders. I charged between one to $3 per flower. I no longer needed to spend time going back and forth with most customers anymore. Each sale was now an average of one to 200 per order, and the actual creation time per order now took me a couple of days versus a week without that change of perspective that prayer had provided me, I don’t know if I would have ever been able to figure out a way to pay myself, what I felt I deserved. Prayer can help us by elevating our perspectives to see opportunities and blessings we may have missed before
SIONE: I wanted to share of an experience of how prayer can help in unexpected ways. I believe that life is made up of opportunities for us to learn and help others. There are times that we try to solve an issue concern or problem by ourselves, and at times even with other people helping all the while running into a brick wall. I believe those are the times that we get to learn or remember that the source of all knowledge and power is God, and that he loves helping us out, and he is simply waiting for us to ask him. And although he may not come down in all his glory to give you the answer to your problem, I believe he does answer your problem by sending someone else to help you with those concerns that you’ve been praying for. And usually there is a win win in this situation, you get help from someone who has a solution to your problem and the person who is helping more than likely needed this opportunity to help so they can grow also. Here’s a quick example. I have prayed to be more patient. And for those of you who have gone through this experience, praying for patience is such a brave thing. Here’s how my prayer was answered. I go to work, and during that particular shift or shifts, there may be a youth that is disrespectful and possibly whiny. Of course, at the time, I don’t see that as an answer to my prayers. But that’s exactly what it is, it’s an opportunity for me to practice my patience. The only way for people to be more patient is to have their patience tested. So once again, if you feel brave, and you want to be patient, go ahead and pray for patience. And here’s the win win. If I take the time to understand that youth and see why he or she is being disrespectful and understand their life from their perspective, I can help them navigate their time in detention a little better. They have a more successful stay in detention, I strengthen my patience muscle. Win, win.
ALANA: So often, when we don’t get what we prayed for or don’t pause long enough to realize that we did, like if you’re praying for patience, it can be easy to feel that we aren’t worthy or that the Lord didn’t really care. But to me, these opportunities are actually the perfect ones to continue to turn to the Lord, to ask what we should learn or why he answered as he did instead. I’m not saying that when we do we’re going to all of a sudden understand things perfectly, but these are opportunities to expand and elevate our perspectives and see things a little more like he does.
SIONE: And I actually think there are many times it’s not necessarily that we don’t get what we prayed for many times when we pray for help, we already have an idea or expectation of how we want that prayer to be answered, or how we think it will be answered. And then our prayer gets answered, but not in the way we expected. And in those times, it usually takes someone else to help point out to us that, you know, your prayers actually been answered
ALANA: This reminds me of one of my favorite Garth Brooks songs unanswered prayers. I’m not sure if you’ve heard it. While I believe that no prayer actually goes unanswered, the message of the song rings true when we don’t get the answer we want it’s usually, because there are things that are coming down the line, that are so much better.
SIONE: Wait. So what’s the song about?
ALANA: The song is basically a story of a young man that prayed and prayed that his high school flame would one day become his wife.And so years later at a football game he’s attending with his wife, they run into this old flame and goes on and has this conversation with her and realizes they really don’t have anything in common anymore. And he turns and sees his wife and he thanks God for not answering that prayer that he had pleaded so desperately for years ago. In one of the verses, as he sees just how much he and that old flame no longer have anything in common, he says, I guess the Lord knows what he’s doing after all. And the song ends with the chorus, thanking God for not answering that prayer, once again. Another great line from the chorus that I just have to share, because it relates to what we’ve been talking about is, remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care because some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
SIONE: Lyrics that ring true. One last thought I wanted to share. I got a text message, just this morning from one of my one on one financial students, Larry and Tanya, and I’m recounting this story with their permission. Larry explained to me that he needed to pay off a particular loan by January 17 to take advantage of the zero percent interest rate and avoiding paying any interest. He made the payment in the late night of the 17th, and was actually 20 minutes late on that payment. He noticed later that he had $1,233 more to pay interest. He was stressing out that he missed a deadline by 20 minutes, and a bunch of negative thoughts started rushing into his my thoughts like I’m a failure, my wife is going to be disappointed at me. And then he had a thought to say a prayer. Larry says that he prayed and said, Please help me out with this. But if I have to deal with it, I will. He called the loan people two days later and talk with the supervisor to resolve his concern. After Larry explained the situation and that he paid the loan off in full 20 minutes late. The supervisor said, you know I’m glad you’re calling now, and not later because there is a three day grace period, and I have the authority to give you that three day grace period. So Larry got that grace period I didn’t have to pay the $1,233 in interest. Sometimes we are given the opportunity to use prayer to remind us, who can get us out of some tough situations and extend those tender mercies.
ALANA: And here’s one last experience from earlier this week. It brought with it an example of how the attitudes we have also affect our ability to recognize the help the Lord sends in answer to our prayers. Since last week Sione and I were planning to make a visit to a waterfall, we had yet to see as our adventure and time to refuel and play for our next YouTube video. Because it is rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest, we planned to go, even if it was drizzling. As it got closer and closer to the day of our visit, we kept an eye on the weather and everything was well. That is, until the morning right before we were about to leave the house. It was now pouring, and according to the weather report, it would now be pouring all day long. Here was the moment of decision. We could be frustrated and complain or get productive and pray. From my experience doing something productive and praying is always the better option. When things get tough, have the faith to work and pray so hard that you have no energy left over to complain. Here was the result. To get productive, I decided to use the extra time, since we woke up early, to take a nap, because I had been feeling a bit of a cold coming on. And I prayed that we’d still find a way to get in and adventure and play time within the next couple of days. In time to refuel but also in time to make another video. Because I chose wisely during this particular experience, my attitude was in the right place to hear that little thought to check the weather once again after waking up from my nap. And what do you do you know the weather had all cleared up. We were able to not only see those beautiful falls that afternoon, I was also able to get some much needed rest as well. The Lord also simultaneously answered, another prayer that I had been saying of helping me to prepare to recount this life lesson. You may have noticed from the experiences that we’ve shared, but over the course of just a few days we had both had several new experiences that reiterated that help really is often just a prayer away.
SIONE: You know, you might be listening and thinking, Man, Alana’s prayers are always answered, and while all her prayers may not be answered the way that she wants, or the way that you think it should be answered. She is pretty well connected to the man upstairs.
ALANA: I think we can all have that same relationship though. And if we put ourselves in the proper perspective, we can be in that right attitude and mindset to recognize how every prayer is actually working to our advantage.
SHOW OUTRO: Life can be an amazing teacher before paying attention. The opportunities for learning and growth are infinite just like each of our potentials, but its potential is only as powerful as its application. So here’s one last thing before we go.
ALANA: Our last minute thoughts are simply this, when you are faced with a trial or in need of help, don’t forget to pray
SIONE: And lyrics from a favorite hymn to reiterate that message. Oh how praying rests the weary. Prayer will change the night today. So, when life gets dark and dreary don’t forget to pray. If you’ve never said a prayer before, or if you just want to pray with somebody, we’d be more than happy to help.
ALANA: We hope your time with us today has been edifying, perhaps even an answer to a prayer. But in all seriousness, if you got something from this episode we would love to hear about it. You can do so by leaving us a comment on our last post on our Instagram or Facebook, we’re @sioneandalana in both places.
SIONE: If you enjoyed this episode or thought of someone, it may help. We’d be super grateful if you helped get the word out by sharing it. You can do this by taking a screenshot of this episode and sharing it on social media.
ALANA: And don’t forget to tag us if you do. Every like comment share subscribe and review really does help others find us so we really do appreciate whenever you take the time to do so. Thanks so much for tuning in. Who knows what lessons this week’s adventures will teach us.
SIONE: Until next time.