When God Answers Your Prayers: Interview with Karen O’Connor

This week I am happy to host an interview with my friend and fellow writer, Karen O’Connor. Her newest book is When God Answers Your Prayers: Inspiring Stories of How God Comes Through in the Nick of Time. I had the privilege of contributing two of my own answers to prayer for this book. Karen wrote about my stories in the chapters called “Dream Job” and “Wanted: Your Book.” The book is encouraging and enjoyable. I highly recommend it!

Book Giveaway

Karen is giving away two copies of When God Answers Your Prayers. To enter the drawing for a book, just leave a comment at the end of this post. The deadline is Saturday, April 6.

Interview with Karen O’Connor

1. Congratulations on your new book! What is one thing you hope readers will take away from When God Answers Your Prayers?

I hope readers will hang in there with God—even when waiting for his answer can be agonizing. God does some through—in his time and in his way for the good of all concerned. I learned that the hard way!

2. There are many books on prayer, but your subtitle, “Inspiring Stories of How God Comes Through in the Nick of Time,” gives a hint of what sets your book apart. Can you tell us more about the “nick of time” aspect of your book?

Yes, I have a good example of that. My husband and I planned a move from Southern California to Central Coast California to be closer to our youngest daughter and her family. We bought a new home in a quiet new neighborhood, expecting to sell our beautiful condo by the San Diego Bay in a matter of weeks. The sale did not happen in a few weeks or

Karen O'Connor

even in a few months. We came to the point of facing two mortgages. Then when it appeared we’d soon exhaust our financial reserve, my husband’s daughter bid on the condo and purchased it. Escrow closed ‘in the nick of time’ before we ran out of money. I later realized that when I pray it’s not always just about me and what I want. Other people and other circumstances are involved—as was the case with the sale of our home in San Diego. But God did come through—as he always does––and then my prayers turned to praise.

3. When God Answers Your Prayers is based on stories from many different people. How many people contributed stories to your book? As a writer, is it hard to handle so many contributors?

The book includes thirty stories from other people, (including two of yours, Joe!), some of my own, and some from the Bible. I invited people to answer a set of questions—and provided them with sample responses so they would stay on track. Most of the folks are not writers so this method made it easy for them and for me. I then wrote up the individual stories based on answers to my questions. I found the process pretty seamless, though it took several months to finish the book.

4. Your book focuses on answers to prayer, but what would you say to readers who are disappointed that God has not answered their prayers?

Great question. I tend to believe that God always answers prayers in some way—although we may not see the outcome as an answer—at least right away. For example, my first husband and I divorced after twenty years of marriage. I was devastated and cried out to God again and again over many years. But still my husband left for another woman and they are still together. I felt God had left me in the ditch! But he didn’t. God used that experience to ‘clean my spiritual house,’ to draw me to Christ in a personal relationship, and to show me how I had made my husband a ‘god’ in my life. Then after a season of healing, I met my current husband and we’ve established a new home together with Jesus as the head. I consider all this an answer to prayer—over time but in the nick of time too!

5. How did this book change your own prayer life?

I’m now at peace when I pray. I give my situation over to God and let go of it. That doesn’t mean I’m never anxious or concerned. I’m human. But I now pray from a place of trust, knowing God will bring about the outcome that is best for me. He never disappoints.

6. Are there one or two stories that stand out to you as particularly memorable examples of answers to prayer?

YES! Your story (“Dream Job”) of how you got your professorship at APU is one of them. What a suspenseful time that was for you. Another that captured my heart is “Split-Second Grace,” a true story of how God saved a baby’s life in the nick of time.

7. You always seem to be working on at least one book, if not more. What is next for you?

My next book will be published in 2014 from Harvest House. Lord, How Did I Get This Old So Soon? A Woman Talks to God About Growing Older. This is a book of conversational prayers to God about the issues we all face as we age. My editor told me it is her favorite of all my books. Nice to hear. I also have a fun book coming out later this year: God Bless My Senior Moments—short, sentence-long prayers about the funny things we do when we hit the senior age group–and I’m not talking about seniors in college!

8. Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

I invite readers to visit my website: www.karenoconnor.com where they will find a list of my books and links for ordering them, and to sign up for my weekly blog and quarterly newsletter, if they wish.

Thanks, Joe, for featuring me on your blog. I really appreciate your support.

19 thoughts on “When God Answers Your Prayers: Interview with Karen O’Connor

  1. Have a friend who is waiting for God’s answer…she has one little girl diagnosed with mitochondrial disease and is wheelchair bound at 6 yrs of age…now 2 younger daughters may be diagnosed with the same. Discouraged to say the least…and waiting for God to intervene. Not cure, but give peace and comfort and wisdom. She also has a little boy who is fine….hubby recovered alcoholic, and they are trying to be a testimony in all this.

    • Barbara, thanks for leaving a comment. Your friend has a large load to carry. I pray with you for God’s peace and comfort in her life and circumstances. It is not easy to stay ‘up’ when faced with so much. I admire her for waiting on God. He will come through. He always does–even if differently than we expect.

  2. I like what was shared through this interview. It looks like God is doing radical work for you, Mrs. O’Connor. I feel it is very easy to sit and wait for God to answer prayers. I am not saying that is wrong, but I believe prayer and worship is very different for each individual. Waiting seems easy. Being a dangerous warrior for God seems to be more real and exciting. I believe in giving God all of your junk and allowing God to be God, not a boxed-in super hero we often glamorize to make everything perfect for our American Dream and Brave New World. The call of prayer is powerful. The call to worship is powerful. It seems church has taken this and made it relaxable and fitting to our materialistic ways. I believe in the same God who has “Smoke pouring from his nostrils. Fierce flames leaping from his mouth. Glowing coals blazing from him,” as described in Psalms 18: 8-That is a God who kicks ass and is mighty to save.

  3. I’d love a copy of your new book Karen as I really enjoy hearing how God answers prayers in His timing!

  4. I love all the stories Karen shares in her new book. Yes, God does answer prayer, sometimes not how we’d like, but he always answers us in HIS perfect timing. Thanks for writing such a wonderful book, Karen!

  5. Hello Mrs. O’Connor,
    I have definitely been faced with this reality recently as I am learning to trust more and more what God is doing and the power of prayer. I think a lot of what he is working in me is the call to trusting, not begging, in prayer. He is teaching me that it is okay to have expectations and to ask of them, although his solution may look slightly different (or radically so) you’re right when you say there will be resolution. However I do not necessarily believe that God answers all prayers. He hears them definitely, and goes through life with us, but I don’t believe that our sense of what is just, the idea of answered prayer, is divinely just. Sometimes things don’t end well or have no reason to their happening, and I think that is something that as followers we try our best to reconcile with some sort of ‘it happened for a reason’ philosophy. We attempt to find some divine meaning behind everything, but we don’t have the same sense of justice that God has. We need a reason, but what if God didn’t have one?
    I do appreciate this book however, prayer is very much a faith builder in every sense of the phrase. These stories sound like they have potential to give hope to many people, and ultimately glorify God.
    Thank you for your thoughts!

  6. Karen I loved the interview and I am always touched deeply by your writing. Every single one of your books have always inspired, encouraged and deepened my faith. You newest book of “When God Answers Your Prayers” Inspiring Stories of How God Come Through in the Nick of Time pulled at my heart strings and deepened my faith. The stories are so powerful. In a world where there is so much violence and negativity, it delights my soul to read a book that is filled with God’s faithfulness, mercy, grace, and love.
    Your books always encourage me to keep on praying and surrendering my will to God’s. I believe the Lord must be smiling down at you and saying, “Good work my good and faithful servant.” I am blessed to read your books and to call you friend.

    • Sandra, I am blessed to call you a friend too. For years you have been one of the most faithful prayer partners anyone could ask for. May the Lord continue to keep you close.

  7. Karen O’Connor,

    It is great to see you publish a book about how God answers prayers. I know in my own life that God answers prayers in very unusual ways. When I was applying for colleges I prayed to God constantly for me to be able to go to Biola. I remember I didn’t even want to apply to APU but for some reason I felt called to send in my application. I got accepted and when I visited this school I instantly fell in love. I decided to make APU my home and here I am at APU! I thank God every day for answering my prayers in a way that was unexpected to me. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like had I not gone to APU.

    • Caleb, what a great ‘share.’ Isn’t God gracious? He gave you what you wanted even before you knew you wanted it! This makes me smile. May your time at APU be some of the best years of your life. Thanks for adding your meaningful comment.

  8. The two winners of the book giveaway for “When God Answers Your Prayers” are…

    Barbara Simonson and Rebecca Krusee! Congratulations!

    I want to thank Karen O’Connor for this interview and giveaway. And thanks to all of you for your comments.

  9. Mrs. O’Connor,

    I absolutely feel that I need to read one of your books now and am so glad that through Dr. Bentz’s blog I have been introduced to you as an author. There is something so inspiring to me about hearing the “God-moments” in the lives of others. The kinds that just leave you with chills all over your body and a knowing that ONLY GOD could have prevailed in that situation. One of the kinds where you know it wasn’t your doing, your friends doing, or just coincidence; it was God. That is what faith is all about…knowing that in God’s PERFECT timing everything will work out according to the plan He has set before us to further His Kingdom. It does seem sometimes like He takes too long to answer our prayers or to let us know that He is there, but I have come to find that it only seems that way because we aren’t paying enough attention; He can be expressing He is with us in the smallest of ways and in the quietest of words. So much so that we may only begin to realize it in the nick of time ;) Thank you for sharing!

  10. I was just in Mexico over spring break for missions and the team I got placed on for the week was women’s prison team. There was also a men’s prison team who went to the same jail in order to minister to the men. After the first day, the men came back with story after story of leading men to Christ and how God was moving through them to touch the men in the prison. Our first day consisted of cutting oranges and playing volleyball; all fun things but nothing extraordinary. Our team struggled with comparing our ministry to the men’s for the first few days. By the end of the week we were blown away by the things that took place. We had been doing little “non important” things (or so we thought) which in the end made a difference. Just as you talk about the prayer unanswered being used by God for the greater good, our women’s prison team watched as God worked through our team in different ways then the men’s team but yet still just as impacting. The women had not eat oranges in over a year… just by cutting up oranges we had demonstrated Christ’s love without even knowing it.

  11. Hello Mrs. O’Connor,

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I agree with your statement “God always answers prayers in some way—although we may not see the outcome as an answer—at least right away.” Sometimes that answer is yes; sometimes it is no. If the answer is no and things do not work out the way we want them to, I do not think that should be misinterpreted as God ignoring us. He just has something much better in store for us.

    I experienced this (and God answering prayer in the nick of time) last year, when I received the news that the school I attended for most of my life was going to suddenly close. The church that owned the school suddenly decided it no longer wanted the school, calling it a financial burden even though the school was self-sufficient. They immediately fired half of the school staff even though all of them had year-long contracts, so the school had to figure out how to teach all these kids with barely any staff halfway through the semester!

    The school and alumni united and decided not to give up. After much fundraising and prayer, we were ready to look for a new location instead of closing the school. We were about to buy one location, but that fell through. Meanwhile, the church was pressuring us to leave. We looked at another location, but permission from higher-ups was not granted. Finally, we found a building that could work and renewed the necessary permits one day before the law would require the school to spend thousands of dollars we did not have on making the building more energy-efficient.

    We secured the location, fixed up the building (including building bathrooms, etc.), and moved the entire school over the summer. Everything was ready just in time for the new school year to start, and the school family was tighter than ever. God repeatedly answered no to our prayers for locations and asked us to wait for his timing instead. He had something so much better in store for us.

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