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© Debbie Porter – 30th May, 2005

For years I suffered their onslaught without a single weapon capable of stopping their attack. There was nothing in my arsenal that had the power to defeat the greatest scourge ever known to telephone owners – the dreaded telemarketers … and believe me, I tried everything.

"Subtle and polite" didn’t work; in fact, it was probably the weakest defensive weapon of all. A simple, "I’m sorry, but we aren’t interested, thank you," has about as much power as being hit with a feather. Although some did graciously accept what I said, many more took it as an open door and made sure they wedged their "foot" in before I hung up.

So with "subtle and polite" being such a dismal failure, I opted instead for "firm and abrupt" – i.e., "We ARE NOT interested. GOODBYE!"

Now rational thinking people would take that as meaning "no," but telemarketers are not working from a rational game plan. Instead, they take it as a challenge to push harder and go for the throat!

"May I ask why you are not interested in receiving cheaper long distance calls?"

ARGH! So much for "firm and abrupt."

Finally, in desperation, I pulled out my one big, double-barreled shotgun – "logic and common-sense." The logic and common-sense weapon is the one that should obliterate every argument. After all, how can anyone hope to defeat the power of such things?

Did I happen to mention that telemarketers live in hope?

"Hello, I’m with Tele-Annoying Communications and you have been selected to receive cheaper rates on your long distance calls."

"No thank you, I’m not interested."

"Oh, may I ask why you are not interested when we can save you lots of money?"

"Well, for one thing, we make very few long-distance calls. For another, I don’t want an extra bill every month from your company, on top of the one I get from my normal telephone company – I couldn’t think of anything more annoying (except perhaps your phone calls). Plus, if we did happen to want to take up a service like this in the future, then we would do our own research into the various providers beforehand. There is no way that we would sign up with some unknown company who resorts to telemarketing for sales. AND finally, do you realize that if we accepted every offer from every telephone company that called, we would be swapping services, on average, five times a week – sometimes two to three times a day?"

Logical, rational, down-to-earth common-sense – unbeatable. Yet, even after all that, the response was more than likely, "Well ma’am it is a great shame that you won’t even consider …"

Double ARGH!

After using every weapon at my disposal, I was boxed into a corner with no room to move and with nothing left to defend myself. Even worse, the number of these calls was rising rapidly, sometimes with the same company ringing three times in the one week.

Then we discovered the "magic" words and were finally able to take back the ground that we’d been steadily losing over recent years.

My husband, Steve, was the one who was entrusted with the "secret" while talking to a representative from the telephone company that we have always used for everything. When, on a totally unrelated call, the representative asked Steve if there was anything else he could do to help, Steve jokingly replied, "Yes, you can tell us how to stop these annoying long distance telephone companies ringing all the time."

He didn’t actually expect to get an answer, but he got one all the same. He got the "magic" words.

My mother always told me that the "magic" words were "please" and "thank you," but I guess that was before telephone salespeople. Today I’m going to share with you the previously secret knowledge of the "magic" words. They are:

"I’m not interested – please remove us from your list. By law you are required to do so at my request."

Now I’m not sure if these same words are as powerful in other countries, but they sure work in Australia. Straight away, things changed. Even the pushiest telemarketer was immediately cut off with no avenue for argument.

After only one month of using the "magic" words, the number of these annoying calls has dropped dramatically. My children, Kylie and Matthew, will testify that winning these telephone battles sends their normally quite composed mother into a somewhat euphoric state, resulting in the performance of a victory song and dance in the hallway to celebrate.

Just knowing the right thing to say in order to bring about a long-desired result, is such a treasure. When it comes to dealing with situations such as this, having that information is absolutely priceless.

However, the trouble is that as Christians we often fall into the trap of applying that same principle to our relationship with God – and that’s a very different thing altogether.

When it comes to prayer, there are no "magic" words or guaranteed formulas to follow, and neither should there be. God is not our servant or a puppet dancing to the pulling of our strings. We are called to humbly pray in faith and believe for the Lord to answer, but that answer is His alone to give – not ours to order.

Over recent years there have been many messages preached and books sold that give the impression that all we need to do is pray a certain way in order to get what we want. There will always be many testimonies to the power of following these "formulas," however, there are probably just as many who don’t see "results."

We are called to follow our Savior’s example, who didn’t dictate a formula, but rather encapsulated the heart and essence of how we should approach our heavenly Father, when He taught His disciples to pray, saying,"

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."

(Matthew 6:9b-13 NIV)

Worship, adoration, surrender, our needs, confession, forgiveness and protection – no "magic" words … but they are, without doubt, some of the greatest and most powerful words ever spoken.

* * *

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:6-8 NIV)

Debbie Porter has encouraged, inspired and entertained thousands of men and women around the world through her writing since June, 2000. Her greatest desire is to encourage and build up the people of God to believe in their God given potential and to step into everything they were created to be. Deb lives with her husband and two teenagers in Sydney, Australia. You can contact Debbie through the "Your Letters" page of FaithWriters’ Magazine, or by visiting her website at http://www.breathfreshair.org