I once donated my mother's Christmas present (a fabric cactus garden in a basket) to use for a door prize.
My mother had been notorious for not liking the gifts her children gave her, but when she came out west to spend Christmas with me and my family one year, she insisted that she loved the cactus garden. However, when it was time to leave, she wouldn't take it home with her. She said she didn't want to carry it on the plane. I promised to send it after her in the mail, but when I took it to the post office, the shipping was more than the gift had cost! I wouldn't admit it to myself, but I must have had some hurt feelings about it, because when I came home, I threw the packed box in a closet and forgot about it.
That November, the crisis pregnancy center I volunteered at was planning a fundraiser and asked for donations to use as door prizes. I remembered the cactus garden and decided to donate it. A few weeks later, as I was eating my spaghetti dinner during the fundraiser, I surveyed the prizes spread out across the stage steps. There must have been thirty or forty gifts up there.
When I spotted the little fabric cactus garden, a pang of guilt swept over me. It suddenly occurred to me that this was my mother's Christmas present I had given away! I felt terrible, but what could I do? They were already drawing numbers and giving away the prizes.
So I did the only thing I could do: I prayed. I told the Lord how sorry I was for giving my mother's gift away, and that if he would help me get it back, I would be sure and have it in the mail the next Monday. It was a simple, silent prayer in a room full of noisy people; but then, it's the sincerity, not the drama of a prayer that matters to God.
I was among several hundred people waiting to see if they won something, and the prizes were being selected randomly before each winner was called. Now, I'm no mathematician, but I think it is safe to say that the odds were definitely against me. Yet, a few minutes after I prayed, my number was called. And when I went up to take my gift, guess which prize they had picked to give me? Yep, it was the cactus basket!
You can be sure I had that basket in the mail bright and early Monday morning. My mother called a few days later. She thanked me for the gift, but also wanted to know why on earth I would spend so much money on postage. I didn't mind though. It wasn't about the postage or Mom liking or not liking my gift, anyway. It was about a very gracious Heavenly Father who turned a little prayer of repentance into a miracle!