“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Sometimes I write my prayer requests down. Do you? If you don’t, can I ask you to start? Some people call it their prayer journal. I call it stickies on my computer. (There’s not actual stickies on my computer, it’s a program… but real stickies could work, too.)
Here’s the thing about writing down the things you pray for. Sometimes you forget what you’ve asked for, and when you asked for it. So when that answer comes, and it will, there’s no “ah ha” moment of recognition that God really did answer you and meet your need. The opportunity for a faith-growing moment can slip right by us.
I recently pulled up the stickies on my computer to take a look at my requests. I went back two years to the time when I moved back to Alabama with my family. To be honest, that was a less that stellar time in our lives. We were happy to be back in Alabama, but the circumstances surrounding the move were bad. I had a whole bunch of prayer stickies back then.
On 6-28-10 I had nine prayer requests. As I revisited each one, and was reminded why that particular thing was on my mind at the time, I began to notice a trend. Seven out of the nine things I had brought to the Lord, had been answered. Two are still in the works. Still, seven out of nine… cool.
Sometimes we feel far from God. Sometimes we wonder if He hears us when we cry out to him. If we can go back over time and revisit the things we have brought to Him, see where He has worked and where He is still at work, we can be reminded and reassured of His faithfulness to us.
There are three or four young men at our church (all in their twenties and thirties) who have taken time out of their lives to spend have a cup of coffee with my oldest son. All of them godly men. All of them speaking truth into him over a cup of Joe. I was telling my friend how thankful I am for these men. She quickly reminded me that was an answered prayer of mine. (She’s as good as a stickie on my computer to remind me of answered prayers) She was right. That is a constant prayer of mine for all of my kids as they become teenagers, and seek other people besides mom and dad to advise them. I pray they seek wise counsel, and it helps if the kids think the counsel comes from someone cool. God was able to provide both. Of course He was.
Are you needing some confirmation in your life that God is at work? Having a hard time seeing it? Write down your requests. This does two things. The act of writing them down forces you to have more clarity. Learn to be specific in your requests. Sometimes we think our prayers must have a wide sweep, but how cool is it to see how specific God can be in His answers to us? Writing our prayers down also helps us remember them, revisit them, and see over time what He has done in us, for us, and through us. These are faith-growing moments.