Today my kids and I read a story in Luke 17. Some lepers, ten in fact, are crying out to him—praying to him—for mercy. Jesus responds with a command, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Without hesitation, they obey. On the way, they are all healed, but only one turns around to show worship and gratitude to Jesus. He remembered who had answered his prayer and his faith was increased because of this.
We need to remember our prayers so we can thank God when he answers. If we receive a delayed blessing and forget that we asked for it, we cannot obtain the full benefit. God’s response to my prayers often seems to be, “Hold fast and wait to see what I will do.” During that waiting period I can often forget my urgent prayers and then take it for granted when I do receive my request. I forget to go back and fall at Jesus’ feet and thank him.
Often, it is not circumstances that need changing, but my desires. I need to fully delight in him and then my heart’s desires will be his. My heart needs molding; my attitude needs transforming. I don’t realize the changes God has made in my heart in response to lifting my desires to him. The reworking is so slight and slow, I fail to notice and praise the Lord.
God had the children of Israel build monuments and altars to help them remember how the Lord helped them. Their children would ask, “What is that pile of stones by the Jordan River?” And their parents would have the opportunity to relate the story of the river drying up for them to cross. The stories would be passed down through the generations.
How can I remember?
What can I do to make sure I remember my prayers so that my faith can grow by seeing God’s faithfulness? Sometimes, I remember through stories. The kids all know how God provided for the three of us plus our dog as we traveled around the United States during my fourth year of medical school. They know about our four-month wait for a house with a garden in Bangkok and how God fulfilled that promise. We recount these parts of our family history as a remembrance, as a monument, as a thanksgiving.
I also thank God as I am making a request. I try to model my prayers after Philippians 4:6: “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV). I thank God for his response before it comes, knowing that it will be the best decision for me.
Of course, I want to remember to thank him afterwards as well, so I sometimes write down my prayers. If I have certain strong desires that I am waiting for God to fulfill, I record them. This way I can see how God changes my heart and how he answers in amazing ways beyond my grandest hopes.
Pray, wait, remember, and praise—so our faith will increase as God does great and wondrous works.
Rachel Cardin, mother of five and family physician, currently serves with a church plant in Ayutthaya, Thailand and provides support to her husband as he finishes his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Politics.
Photo from Pixabay, no attribution required