Years ago, I began a prayer request book. It was a time in my life that I needed concrete reminders of the faithfulness of God. I just got a cute little journal, opened it up so that one blank page was on the left side and one on the right. On the left, I write my prayer requests. I make my requests very specific, so there is no question as to it being answered. I write next to my request the date I add it. Then, when the prayer is answered, I come back and write on the right side the specific answer to my prayer (sometimes it isn’t what I wanted) and the date. I’ve been amazed at how quickly some get answered. I’ve been amazed at how above and beyond others get answered. But most of all, like the children of Israel, I need reminders of God’s faithfulness. You’d think I wouldn’t forget some of the amazing ways my prayers have been answered, but sadly I do. We often cannot see beyond our own circumstances to remember that God has been faithful to us and will continue to do so. We can’t see beyond where we are.
Last week, I was praying with Imogene and Aidan. I told them God had always been faithful to us and we could count on him to continue to be faithful. Of course, they both asked what that meant. I told them God has always provided for our family, looked after us, and given us what we need. I told them we know God will take care of us because he has always taken care of us. That was plenty for Aidan. Imogene wanted to know how he has taken care of us. So, out came the prayer book. I told Imogene these were all our prayers to God and I had written down what God had done for each one. Here is the version I told Imogene:
We prayed for a baby. It took a long time, but we just kept trusting God. And he gave us you (Imogene).
God sent us to Mississippi, we didn’t think we could pay our bills, but they were paid.
We needed a place to live, God gave us one.
We needed to sell our house, and it sold.
We prayed that Mommy could stay home with you (Imogene), and God made a way for me to.
We prayed for God to send us another child, if it was His will. He gave us Aidan.
God told us to move back to Georgia, but we didn’t have a place to live. God gave us a place to live.
We told God that we were happy with however many children He blessed us with. He gave us Emery.
We needed a bigger house. God gave us one.
Of course, in the non-3 year old version, there are many more prayers and answers. There was my earnest prayer that Aidan would flip head down, and he didn’t. God did give me peace through my c-section, but clearly did not answer my prayer how I wanted Him to. There were also many more specifics that were just too much to include for a 3 year old discussion, including us choosing not to go along with the advice of fertility doctors when we couldn’t conceive. We chose to let God give us the child and decided against doing anything “radical” (medications, IUI, IVF). We knew God could, and He did. There were also many prayers for others, many prayers for small things, that He answered. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I got to mark off the prayer that had been on there the longest, for a friend of mine to get pregnant. (That was on my list for 2 years!) God is faithful.
I recommend a prayer book. Just try it. Your requests don’t have to be long, just specific enough to be answerable. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your prayers are answered. (Because we know that when going through a trial, each day is so long, the whole ordeal seems much longer than it really is.) You’ll also be surprised at how it strengthens your faith, knowing God is answering you- and you’ve got the proof and constant reminder right there in front of you!