More From Mary Hunt Webb

November 17, 2023 by Mary Hunt Webb (New Mexico, USA)

When I was growing up, my mother advised, “Be careful what you pray for because you may get it.” She was right! I always wanted to travel and see other places. That happened when I married a meteorologist whose career took us away from our families in the middle of North America to the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where earthquakes replaced tornadoes.

This photo, taken by my husband, dates back decades to around that time. Our son was very young. We splurged to take him to an amusement park so he and I could ride the carousel. We were so poor that I made the shirt and slacks he was wearing.

When I found it difficult to make friends, I turned to the Lord, banging on heaven’s doors with my prayers. Today’s quoted Bible verse became very real for me because I eventually heard the Lord speaking to me internally.

While I don’t intentionally mention to others that the Lord speaks to me, it does come up. That often happens when I do something that is precisely what is needed, and someone asks me how I knew to do it. When I say, “The Lord told me,” responses vary. Several people have said, “Oh, I wish the Lord would speak to me!” That’s when I can say, “When he does, you must listen, or he may not speak to you again.”

However, that wasn’t the case with Jonah in the Bible. The Lord did not turn away from Jonah when he did not obey the Lord’s instruction. Instead, God delivered Jonah up, smelling like a fish, onto the shore near Ninevah, where God had first told Jonah to go.

Remembering Jonah’s story, I don’t want to find out what method the Lord might use to bring about my obedience, so I do what the Lord tells me to do. My relationship with the Lord often resembles my relationships with family members. When they need something, they keep reminding me until I do what they ask. A similar closeness to the Lord causes me to do what he tells me. When I haven’t immediately followed the Lord’s guidance, I have felt the Lord nudging me. 

A second response that some people have given me has been to doubt that I heard the Lord. One fellow asked, “How do you know it’s the Lord? Maybe it’s the devil.” I know because what I hear from the Lord must be in keeping with the Bible. Determining that comes from my reading the Bible every day. As was demonstrated in the story of Eve and the serpent in Genesis, the devil’s suggestions always contradict the Lord’s teaching.

The closeness of my relationship with the Lord tells me that it’s the Lord speaking to me. It reminds me of when our son was little and I could distinguish his cry and voice from among others, even when I was in another room and he was with other children.

Because my prayer life consists of praying throughout the day, I am always attuned to the Lord’s voice speaking to my spirit. When I pass through a neighborhood, I pray for the residents. When I read or hear about an elected official doing something, I pray for that person and for others in similar situations. As I pass a school, I pray for the students, their families, the staff and administrators, and those serving on the school board. When I hear recorded music, I try to remember to pray for the musicians that performed it. In short, I try to stay “prayed up.”

Through our Webbsite, my husband, Morris, and I are able to reflect our Lord to visitors from all over the world, including countries where the Gospel is banned. We welcome you to explore our postings on our Webbsite at

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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