I have been thinking recently about prayers that God has answered in my life. In the past week, I can think of two that he answered. I need to pay more attention to these answered prayers. Our pastor told of how George Mueller recorded all of his answered prayers and it totaled 300,000.
For those of you who are new to prayer or can’t get over the prayers that God has not answered or answered in a way that we didn’t like, let me give you a way to begin this prayer process. First, we need to start small. If I want to run a 5K but have never run more than one mile, I should start with that one mile and then try to increase my distance from there. I shouldn’t expect to achieve a 5K on my first try. I have to build up to it. It is the same way with prayer, especially if I am wanting to record my results. I shouldn’t put all of my emphasis on one big prayer without noticing all of the little prayers that God has answered.
Second, find a daily prayer and track the results. I would suggest something like the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Begin your day saying this prayer and say it throughout your day. Start to notice the ways God has answered this prayer. Maybe a stressful situation at work gets resolved, you respond more appropriately to your fighting children because you recognize the mercy that has been portioned to you, or you are reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice in taking on death when we were the ones who deserved it.
What if you find yourself in a terrible situation even after praying this prayer all day? Instead of thinking that God has not answered your prayer, see how God gets you through the situation and how that might have been different if you hadn’t cried out for mercy and direction.
The Jesus prayer, or one of my favorite prayers – “Come, Lord Jesus”, are our base mile, our starting point that we then build on. We need to start a habit of paying attention to our prayers and their results before we truly can pass judgement on God’s willingness to answer our prayers. These starter prayers can be our warm up.