We talk about praying a lot. But we don’t talk about how prayer is answered in our lives nearly as often.
I use my Notes app to create a prayer calendar. I have specific churches, issues, people, etc. that I pray for each day, and my prayer time is usually while I walk. Every now and then I miss a day of this focused prayer, but it is pretty consistent. I have also added a new heading on each note underneath the requests called “Answered Prayer.” In that section, I put what I have seen God do in the lives of people or in the situations that are on that day’s prayer list.
By no means am I saying that the answers came because I prayed for them. I don’t claim to totally understand how the Lord answers prayer, and I am confident that in most cases, I am not the only one praying for that particular thing or person.
But I do know that He tells us a few things in His Word that are helpful with this. Psalm 107:28-30 and Acts 9:40 are just two of many instances in the Bible where God appears to respond directly to the prayers of a person or a group of people. James 5:16 tells us that the “prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray “without ceasing.” Just from those few verses, we can deduce that God at least sometimes responds directly to the prayers of the righteous, that those prayers have great power, and that we should pray them a lot.
With that in mind, I’d like to share just a few answered prayers that I have seen recently:
- One answered prayer is something that the prayer itself helps me to do. I pray that I care more for others and that I am better about keeping in touch with and checking in on them. Praying for specific people helps with that because it reminds me of their need and brings it back to the surface of my heart. It also serves as sort of a mental list of who I haven’t spoken with in a while. As a result, I have greatly improved in staying in touch with at least some of these people, and their needs are kept visible in my crowded mind.
- There is a church that I had been praying for, specifically that they would be effective in serving their community and reaching it for Jesus. This church was not at all a reflection of the neighborhood around it, and a lot of that was due to some racism within that church. I recently received an update that some new programs had been launched for some of the neighborhood children and that those children were regularly coming to church and being a part of its activities. I also learned that there was very little resistance from within the church to their presence. This was a big deal.
- I pray that the Lord encourages us and helps us to know where we are doing well in parenting Maura, and that He point out to and correct us in the areas where we are not doing so well. It happened very naturally where we had a discussion about that very thing, and we are working on those areas.
- This one is a little more out there, but I prayed that the Lord protect us from demonic opposition and attacks because of our ministry work, and that if He allowed it to happen, that it would only strengthen us and not destroy us. We have had what appears to be several forms of attack, and we have definitely come back stronger for it.
Typing them out, I realize that some of these answered prayers are things that I just know to be so within my own heart and mind. I haven’t seen anyone raised from the dead or miraculously healed. They aren’t the most practical or visible, but they are very personal and very real. Perhaps those are the best kind, because they indicate that I am growing closer to Him and sensing His responses to my prayers without having to see something visible. It’s almost like He says “Yeah, I did that” into my heart.