How to track your prayers is something new to me. I’m only in the beginning stages. Are you wondering why we even should? Well, here’s how this began.
I thought back over just this past month and realized God had answered so many of my prayers just as I asked. By that, I mean I prayed in detail, and the details were answered specifically. So I got to thinking.
How many other times have I prayed and had my prayers answered and didn’t know it because I didn’t track my prayers? And then how much detail should I track? What kind of symbols for what kind of answers would I use?
Does God suggest we track our prayers?
Now, that’s interesting, isn’t it? Could God possibly ask us to track our prayers? And is there any scripture basis?
Well, of course, you are not going to find that God tells us in scripture to track our prayers the way I’m suggesting. But does he tell us to remember his faithfulness to us? Over and over again. How about two hundred and fifty times in the various Hebrew and Greek forms?
We remember by tracking out prayers
I suggest one of the ways we remember is by tracking our prayers and their answers. It wasn’t till I sat down and thought through the month of February that I realized all the prayers I’d prayed were answered in some form or another, and I hadn’t even been aware. Therefore, I hadn’t thanked God for the answers either.
I played around with lots of ideas and finally settled on four out of the original ten. These might prove a prompt for your own ideas.
I’m going to go through two of them today and two tomorrow. So let’s begin with W, meaning wait.
This is probably our hardest answer, isn’t it? I have very dear friends who are really struggling now. The husband has been recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is one that spreads easier than others. He had the first surgery and was told cancer had not spread to the bladder wall. But in the case of bladder surgery, they schedule another one within a month to double-check.
He got a cold, and they had to reschedule for a month further out. This surgery showed tumors and that cancer had attached to the bladder wall. Now they have some very big choices. Chemo and radiation, or chemo and removal of the bladder, none of which is a guaranteed outcome. They are waiting. While we have been praying for them, we have been waiting as well.
I would say ‘wait’ is the most common answer we get. And that’s because the people we are praying for aren’t always cooperative, or the situations need time. We pray for years for an open heart for someone, and we wait. Or we pray for God to intervene in a job, and we wait. And we pray for the hungry and poor, and we wait.
BUT, while we wait, we do not sit back and do nothing. We continue to reach out in demonstrative ways to that waiting heart; we sharpen our work skills; we give financially to the poor. All while waiting.
Waiting is one of the most active times in a Christian’s life. But God very often answers our prayers when we are on the front lines helping.Tweet
I posted last week about a family I know with some serious dysfunction going on. Again, I’m praying and waiting, but there is more I will share about this.
When we were on vacation, I did something I’ve never done before. I asked two different waitresses at two different restaurants if I could pray for them, as well as a woman I ran into while walking. Sharing this is not meant to puff myself up but to reassure any of you who have thought about doing this but were afraid of rejection.
In the case of the waitresses, I asked the first one if there was anything I could pray for her about the next morning when I had my devotions. She paused and then quickly answered, her father. He had jaw cancer, and the family was praying he wouldn’t have to have his jaw removed.
With the second waitress, I told her I had noticed all her hard work that night and could tell the restaurant was seriously understaffed. I thanked her for the job she was doing and told her I was going to pray that the next day was really good for her. And in both cases, we put our tip money where our mouth was.
The third woman-we simply struck up a conversation, and I learned the dog she was walking was going to have to be put down soon. She proceeded to tell me her parents were both killed in a car accident a year earlier, and it had been their dog. I told her I would be praying for her. I didn’t ask if I could. In all cases, I asked their names.
Three different cases were handled in three very different ways. But what does this have to do with releasing? Well, there comes a point when sometimes we release praying for someone because it’s short-term, in the case of the waitress whom I prayed would have a great day the next day.
The waitress whose father was ill I can release now because the decision about his surgery has been made by now, although I will probably occasionally still pray for him and her.
The third woman? I still don’t know. Her grieving situation is ongoing, so I probably will, maybe weekly.
I have never encountered anyone who refused my offer to pray for them. Some I’ve been able to pray right on the spot. Most people are very open to this because whether a person shares your particular faith, most religions, and most non-believers in general, still believe in prayer. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it.
If someone does say no, and you know they need prayer, pray anyway on your own later. Also, women should only approach women, and men only approach men. Don’t muddy the spiritual waters. Finally, if you offer to pray for someone later, make sure you follow through. Otherwise, you’ve been disingenuous and have dishonored God.
Praying for complete strangers
Sometimes we can pray for complete strangers. Maybe we walk by them in a store. We don’t stop everyone we see and ask them if we can pray for them. But we can still pray.
We release these persons immediately unless there’s a compelling reason not to.
Here’s an interesting read.
How do we release someone?
So how do we know when to take someone off our prayer list? Obviously, if the situation has been taken care of, we always can. But sometimes, we find that their name just kind of fades away. We simply don’t feel the same compulsion. I think that’s the Holy Spirit leading us, and I believe it is always pretty obvious.
Some people deal will say, “I pray for so-and-so when their name comes to my mind.” That’s legit. Also, sometimes, relationships and friendships go amuck, and we drift apart. When once we might have prayed daily for them, now it’s more like when they come to mind.
It is not wrong to take someone off your prayer list if God so directs.
Tomorrow we will look at answered and progressive prayers.
God bless, and have a great day.