“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” Mark 22-24

I’m trying to be intentional in prayer. I thank God, when I’m walking my dog and even sitting in that dreaded high school carpool line. It’s becoming natural to look around and say thank you for the ladybug that just landed on me, reminding me of the goodness in life. Sometimes, my entire prayer is a thank you.

Recently, for the first time, I said my own prayer believing God for something. Until two years ago, I’d never even heard of this kind of prayer. At church, I’d study my prayer group, not unlike a curious student in a chemistry demonstration.

Believing God for something specific means already having an expectation for that “thing” because it’s within God’s will. That expectation is key. Only by studying God’s word can you have a true expectation within His will. Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer compares expectation to a pregnant woman who can’t literally see the baby she knows is there.

It’s not enough to pray, even with all my might, if I were at all doubtful. This focus of faith is harder than it sounds because typically what you’re praying so hard for has you doubtful to begin with (When you shop, do you normally pray that the tomatoes are in stock?). Even if you sound strong and your voice doesn’t crack, you’re not fooling God.

My “thing” was a C as my son’s final Honors Math II grade. While some may think this is a terrible—or at least superficial—thing to waste God’s time with, I know that isn’t true. God knows my son’s backstory, his current story, his future story. This was within His will.

I needed to sincerely believe and verbalize that this C—the best current possibility—would happen. Had already happened. Is done. Just wanting it to happen would not make it so.

This wasn’t the first time God was hearing about this math struggle—and not just because He knows my heart. Months before, I’d prayed, on my knees, for my enemies—another first—to soften their hearts and to move them from blocking my son’s blessings. Later, I’d prayed that I wanted that C, that we needed that C, that he deserved at least that C; but if it weren’t within His will, I accept that. I told God that, frequently, sincerely. If the C wasn’t to be, then God had another plan. I actually said, “God, I don’t know what that is—and I’ll be back to ask You, if that’s the case—but I’m confident that what will happen, what has happened, what is already happening, is within Your will.”

My believing prayer came two days before finals. It was to be Cole’s last tutoring session; his tutor couldn’t meet the next night as planned. It was suggested that he take the exam on the makeup day, nearly a week later, to study further. My gut said, “No.” Those instincts, though not always popular, are usually right. I almost always follow them.

Not to mislead you, I wasn’t yet calm. My son’s impending exam seemed to weigh heavily only on my mind—he was busy anticipating five days off school—and a makeup-day exam would crash his plan. As we left Starbucks, I knew we needed this ordeal to end. I was hurt, and I was hurtful.

Finally ready, I prayed, “I am believing God for Cole’s C as his final math grade.” And I believed it. Completely. It was a James 1:6 moment, for sure: “…when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…” I even prayed this after the exam. There were other words, but no bargains, no conditions, no promises, no panic. I wholly gave it over to God. Calm washed over me. Peace.

Cole said he felt great about the exam afterward. He actually checked online for his score three times a day for six days. That was a sign, for sure; don’t miss that. On the fifth day, he said, “Mom, I bet they’re grading and regrading that test because they don’t understand how I did so well.” No child should feel that way.

Six days after the exam, Cole ran into the kitchen. He’d made an 86—nearly an A—on the final exam, and a 72 for the year, a C. All year, he’d not made within 30 points of an 86 on any single unit test but one. Only retests.

Our faithful God is good; He knew all the characters, their hearts, their intentions. And when I was ready, He heard my prayer.