A question to those who find this post.
Prayer is a powerful thing. Having a prayer answered is a tangible demonstration for us of the real, active, working power of God in our lives. God has recently answered a number of my prayers. I'm confident that He has been granting my requests which are made according to His will for a long time, but I haven't really been paying attention so they have gone largely unnoticed. The Christian life is one which by all rights ought to be filled with joy and gratitude. It seems to me, the more I talk with other Christians, that joy and gratitude are inexplicably absent from our experience as Christians. I've come to the firm belief that a large reason we lack this necessary and natural element of the faith is that we don't keep an accurate account of what God is doing in our lives. Before this, though, a lot of my own ingratitude and lack of joy is a result from not spending time with the Lord, gazing at His face, reflecting on His character and remembering His life in the person of Jesus Christ. Beyond the lack of reflection on who He is, though, lies a lack of knowing what He's doing.
It seems to me that this dearth of knowledge of God's workings could be easily overcome by the simple discipline of thinking and writing. By simply thinking about the requests that we've made, writing them down and then returning to them later, we can observe very easily how God has answered prayer in our lives. The problem? We don't like to think and we certainly don't like to write. There are too many more 'important' things that we have going on in our lives which overshadow these helpful disciplines. We need to take inventory of our own requests, and persevere in them until we see the Lord's clear answer regarding them.
What things have I been praying for lately? I've been applying some of Paul's prayers directly to my life lately. There's his prayer in Phil. 1:9-11, where he prays for the Philippians love to grow more and more. I've also been using his prayers mentioned in Eph. 1:17-19. He prays for a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of God, as well as that the eyes of the Ephesians' hearts may be enlightened. There are elements of both the prayers mentioned in Ephesians as well as the prayer in Philippians which indicate to me clearly where I need to grow. I've been seeing growth in very particular areas in my own life, which have been greatly encouraging to me. Other than this, I have been asking for God to change my mindset in certain areas. He has done this for me, and it has strengthened my faith immensely.
At this point, the nay-sayer may say that 'answers' to prayers like this prove nothing; that I'm simply desiring a change in my life and following through on it. To this I would answer that the objection has little impact on me. I'm not using these prayers as an apologetic defense of Christianity. There are other approaches which have far greater value apologetically. These answers to prayer are just simply helpful reminders to myself that the Lord does interact with me when I pray, and so it holds subjective value in strengthening my trust in the Lord. Additionally, knowing how God has answered prayers like these in other believers' lives is a source of encouragement to me. The Lord uses our observed answer to our 'small' prayers as an encouragement to other saints.
With that thought in mind, this post is all about the comments.* I'd like to know what you've been praying for lately, and whether or not God has granted your requests. Please let us all know by sharing in the comment section.
* Comments which are posted under the anonymous moniker must include a name within the comment. We need to know who you are!