I found a couple of my old prayer journals while I was reorganizing. They were dated from the mid-eighties. I was about to toss them in the trash, but then stopped at the last second.
I opened one of the journals and read some of my entries. Names of people I hadn’t thought of for years filled the journal’s lines. Amy, Nicole, Myra, Jess, etc. Some of the prayer requests were about health struggles. Some financial challenges. Some concerned problems in their marriages.
Also in this section of the journal was the name of my husband, and my children—tiny tots at this time. And last, my own personal requests.
I turned some more pages and found my favorite category: “Letters to God.”
Some of these entries expressed my yearning for a greater maturity in my faith. Some were about challenges with people where I worked and how I needed to grow in love for each of these co-workers. Some letters simply expressed my praise and thankfulness.
I remember feeling, way back then, that many of these prayer requests seemed to never be answered. Especially the ones for my loved ones. Why does God take such a long time to answer those prayer requests that are most near and dear?
But, sitting on my bed, reading through the journal, through the perspective of thirty years, I saw that almost every one of my prayers had been met. These specific requests usually required an attitude adjustment in me. About my friends, goals, my husband, my children.
Attitude adjustments take time. The Lord rarely zaps us with instant emotional healing. He uses hardship, coupled with time to teach us to submit to His wonderful ways, to lead us to greater dependence on His strength, to produce wisdom and patience.
But He does answer prayers.
If you’re like me and you tend to forget the Lord’s faithfulness to answer prayers, keep a prayer journal. You’ll be amazed as you read older journal entries when you see His footprints all over your life.
It’s great to look forward, to press onward toward your goals.
But every once in a while, it’s also good to look back and see how far the Lord has brought you.
“Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77: 10-12 NIV Bible)