Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Prayer Box

Several years ago, someone gave me a prayer box.  Since I was a new believer at the time, I really didn’t understand what it was for or how to use it, so I didn’t give it much thought. Over the course of time, occasionally, when I would find myself going through a difficult or painful challenge in my life, I would write out my prayer request, put it in the box, and then forget about it.  Recently, I pulled down the prayer box, dusted it off, and started reading through my requests.  There weren’t many, about 15, but as I read through them, I realized that God had answered every one of them. Sometimes the answer was what I asked for, other times it wasn’t, but was instead something much better than what I could have imagined at the time.  As I read through each one and saw how the Lord answered them, I am filled with awe, gratitude and love, knowing just how much He cares for me, and that He heard my cries.

As I reflect on the ways God answered me, I am learning more about Him and seeing how His Word is so true and so trusted. I had a few requests that were basically the same, but were asked differently each time. I asked for a good, rewarding job, with health benefits.  The Lord answered that 15 months ago, when I got the job that I am at now.  I am amazed because I wrote some minor details about how I wanted my job to be, and this job pretty much has all that I asked. Another request was for an end to my years of loneliness and to provide me a Godly husband.  This one blows me away.  When I look at my husband, I can’t believe just how good God is. He really did give me the desires of my heart.  The person God chose for me is perfect in every way, and little things that I continue to observe proves that God really does know who or what’s best for us. This answer to my prayer took longer than I wanted, but I know it was because I wasn’t walking fully in line with the Lord or His commandments. Once I completely put God first in my life, and walked in obedience, did God finally answer this prayer.

Was it the prayer box that made God answer my prayers? Did it hold some powers that miraculously turned my prayers into reality? No, I believe that it was because I earnestly sought Him, believed that He would hear me, and had faith that He would answer me. 1 John 5:14 says “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”. I also believe persistence played an important part; I didn’t just ask once and give up, I kept asking. Jesus taught His disciples in His parable about the persistent widow, that they “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1-8). Also important, I believe that it was having a repentant heart and walking in obedience, that God answered my prayers (Psalms 66:18).

One of the stories in the bible that touches my heart and shows me how much God is moved by our prayers is the story of King Hezekiah. He is one of my favorite persons in the bible and I can’t wait to meet him in heaven. He was a mighty king who loved God and was very zealous for Him; he “did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 31:20).  He boldly tried to eradicate false worship in Judah, destroying all the false idols and pagan alters and temples, and brought back a revival of true and pure worship of the Lord (2 Chronicles 29-32). Later in his life, he had become very sick, and the prophet Isaiah had told him to get things ready because he was going to die.  Hezekiah immediately turned to the Lord in prayer, and he wept bitterly. Before Isaiah even left the building, the Lord answered his prayer.  The Lord told Isaiah that He was going to heal Hezekiah and extend his life 15 years (2 Kings 20:1-6). I remember reading this story a couple of years ago, and it brought tears to my eyes. Hezekiah’s story touched me for several reasons. Here is this mighty, valiant king who loved the Lord and wasn’t ashamed to openly worship Him and do things that were considered unpopular or “politically incorrect” for his time. He boldly and unashamedly started tearing down pagan alters and destroying idols. Can you imagine what would happen if we started doing that today? And as mighty or powerful as he was, Hezekiah wasn’t ashamed to weep bitterly before the Lord, nor was he too manly or proud to ask for more time on this earth.  But what touched me the most were God’s words, “I have heard your prayer, and seen your tears, surely I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5). What comfort I get from reading this! Our God loves us and hears us. He knows all of our needs, pains, fears, and He wants to help us. Nothing is too small or too big for our God.  Nothing.

During my reflection, I also realized that when we pray on the behalf of others, God hears us.  Another prayer request had been for a co-worker who had been falsely accused and unjustly fired from his job. I prayed that the Lord would take care of his needs and bless him with a better job. About a year or two later, I found out that he had found a very good and high paying job, much better than the part-time job he had before. This was a powerful reminder to me that we should never give up on praying for others. Even though we may not see the final outcome, or feel that anything is happening because we aren’t seeing changes, God is in control, and He is working behind the scenes, in His timing, to answer, according to His will.  This is encouraging to me. We all have people that we pray for, and sometimes it feels like the situation might be hopeless because we aren’t seeing any results. I myself feel like this at times. There are certain painful situations I have been praying for, and I catch myself feeling hopeless and that it is too big for God to handle because I am not seeing instantaneous results.  But I am reminded by examples in the bible, or my past answered prayers, that God does hear and will answer, but in His timing, and His way. This means I will have to wait and trust in Him, and not give up in prayer or in hope.

I encourage you to never give up either.  We can encourage and build up each other by continually praying for one another (James 5:6) and bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). We can’t do it alone, and just knowing we have others in the faith praying for us when we don’t have the strength ourselves to pray is uplifting and encouraging.  We may have prayers that we can’t even articulate in words because they are too painful, or we are too ashamed or embarrassed, but trust that God knows our heart and every detail that we can’t express (Psalms 56:8). He is the God of comfort, and will indeed comfort us in our trials, so that we may be able to comfort those in trials of their own.  If you need someone to partner with you in prayer, please feel free to contact me.

God bless you.


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3-5

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