Here’s Your Sign

John FarrellBy John Farrell8 Minutes

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7; NIV).


I’ve always believed in the power of prayer, but I often doubt myself when it comes to recognizing God’s answer to my prayers. As a child, my prayers were more self-centered. (“I pray I get this toy” or “I pray we win our game.”) Although it’s sometimes hard to steer clear from those types of prayers as an adult, I’ve tried to make my prayers more about praising God and asking for God’s healing touch when it comes to the health and happiness of my family, friends, and even strangers.

Instead of asking God for specific items, I often seek His advice and direction. Although identifying what He wants me to do is sometimes a struggle, I’m working on becoming better at distinguishing His voice from worldly voices and deciphering His commands.

When I’m truly lost and seeking His counsel and afraid that I won’t recognize His answer, I often ask for a sign. And not just any sign, but an over-the-top, no-way-you-can-miss-it sign that even the most obtuse person would recognize and immediately know it’s a message from God.

Since God tells Ahaz in Isaiah 7:11 to ask Him for a sign, I figured it would be okay for me to ask for a sign as well: “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights” (NIV).

The following is a true story from 2014 about how God answered my prayer with a sign so large I couldn’t possibly ignore.

Highway Prayers

In 2014, I worked for a large international company with offices in Uptown Charlotte. Every morning and afternoon, I made the nearly hour-long commute to and from my house in Concord (N.C.) and the office.

Two years earlier, I was transferred to a new department within the company where I would receive a new set of responsibilities, which included traveling almost every other week. This new job and all it entailed would’ve been fine with me, but when I moved to this new position all my old job responsibilities came with me. There was not much I could do but perform my two jobs to the best of my ability, which required many late nights at the office, staying well past midnight on more than one occasion.

To say I was exhausted and stressed out was a massive understatement. After two years I had had enough, but I was torn. Was this where I needed to be? Where God wanted me to be? Or was there something better out there?

One Friday afternoon in April 2014, I was driving home on I-85 when I broke down in tears. The day at work had been a particularly difficult one, but the specifics of what happened at work now escape me and they’re not important. The only thing I could think to do was pray. I asked God if I was where He needed me to be? If I was doing what He wanted me to do?

I wasn’t sure what good would come from staying there, but I was pretty sure I was headed to an early grave due to the long hours, little sleep, and incredible amount of stress. With a beautiful wife and two young boys at home, this wasn’t an option.

I told Him whatever He wanted me to do, I would happily and obediently do. If He wanted me to stay at the company for some unknown-to-me reason, I would suck it up and gladly do that. On the other hand, if He wanted me to explore other employment opportunities outside of the company, I would follow through.

However, I added a stipulation. I asked that His answer be a sign so large that there wouldn’t be any confusion regarding its message. I told God (as if He didn’t already know) that I was horrible at reading signs and correctly identifying their meaning. The sign needed to hit me over the head.

The following Monday afternoon, after another rough day at work, I once again broke down and reached out to God on my way home. My prayer that day was almost identical to what I had said the previous Friday. The only difference was that this time God answered.

God’s Answer

That evening I was sitting at the table with my family eating dinner and discussing the day when our doorbell rang. I got up and opened the front door to find our next-door neighbor standing there. I immediately noticed she had a piece of paper in her hand. Before I could say anything, she spoke up: “John, I know you’re unhappy with your job. My company has a position they’re trying to fill that I think you’d like.” She handed me the job description and I quickly reviewed it. It sounded like a great opportunity and an even better fit.

After she answered a couple of questions, I thanked her profusely, closed the door, and turned around. My wife was sitting on the bottom step of the stairs. She had a huge smile on her face when she said, “You’re applying for that job.”

I replied, “I know.” I looked up to the heavens and exclaimed, “Thank you, God! I got your sign.” I applied for the position the next day, and the following week I accepted the job.

It was as if God was saying, “John, I heard your prayer. Here’s your sign. I am listening and I love you.” I heard Him too. Loud and clear.

Prayer is indeed powerful!