Recently I found myself doing some home organising and I decided to take down a ‘prayer board’ I had put up in my spare bedroom when I first moved into this apartment. I had originally made the prayer board to help me engage with praying more intentionally for specific things and people. I used a cork board, twine, and pins to create a web of prayers with a place in the middle to peg up a new prayer list every week.
Well, as I took it down, I realised it had been rather a long time since I had added a new prayer list. Dare I admit it was over a year ago. Note to self – prayer boards might not be my thing.
As I took it down, I noticed something else, there was more than one prayer that had been answered in really big and beautiful ways. Praise God. What a joyous and tender moment to be able to hold in my hand prayer requests that I had seen God answer in tangible and wonderful ways in my life.
One of the requests was dated July 2021, a simple prayer offering up a longing in my heart for a godly husband if it was His will for my life. ‘A man after God’s own heart!’ That was a prayer I had been praying for many years, and it was in August/September 2021 that my relationship started with David, the man I am going to marry in five months, November 2023. I’ve frequently thanked God for answering this prayer.
Another one of the prayers was a deep heartfelt plea for God to work in a broken relationship with someone I love deeply. I didn’t know the reasons why, but this person had become estranged, and I missed them and wanted to have them back in my life. That was a prayer I left in God’s hands; it was too painful to talk about often, even with God. As I held the prayer in my hand tears of joy and gratitude fell, as recently I had seen God working to restore that broken relationship and I am so blessed and thankful.
As much as I had thanked God for my relationship with David and for the restored relationship with this person, I also think that often God answers prayers and we don’t always notice. Sometimes there are even those prayers that we haven’t fully formed yet, maybe they are still just passing thoughts or desires that we have not yet vocalised to God. But God, our Good Father, is always present and working for our good. Numerous times I have seen even these ‘almost prayers’ answered.
It was so beautiful to intentionally take a moment to thank God for those answered prayers from my old prayer board, that perhaps is my thing, I may just need to think about how to engage with it a bit more.
I realised that I wanted to be more intentional about my prayer time.
I pray on and off throughout the day about all kinds of things, saying sorry, bringing requests to God, giving thanks and I also frequently spend more extended time in prayer.
However, I wanted to be more intentional about specific time set apart to just be with God, in His presence, daily.
My loving Father responded with a ‘Ribbon and Bows’ moment (a phrase I used to express when God ties things together in my life and it is like He is wrapping a present and putting a nice ribbon on it with a big bow on top just to finish it off – See linked blog). That same week, as I had taken down the prayer board and started to think about intentionality in daily prayer, I had my monthly PACTeam meeting, Personal Accountability and Care Team, a group of people who have committed to walk with me on my Mission Partner journey and support me in prayer and many other ways. So, I shared with them about my desire to be more intentional with prayer and got their encouragement and support. One of my PACTeam members and close friends is also my Bible study partner and she suggested we spent a few weeks being intentional in daily prayer together. I was so thankful that God provided practical support, but He didn’t leave it there.
The bow got even bigger and brighter when the book our staff team at work started reading was, ‘A Praying Life’ by Paul E. Miller. BAM – God made it even clearer in the pages of this book why He was placing it on my heart to pray more. The main reason – Because He loves me and wants to spend time with me.
Miller expresses that “When Jesus describes the intimacy he wants with us, he talks about joining us for dinner.” Prayer is like having dinner with a close friend or loved one, it is about spending quality time together and just ‘being’ with each other. Miller also describes how “Prayer is a moment of incarnation – God with us. God involved in the details of my life.” What a beautifully, wonderful truth, that God cares deeply about the details of our lives, and He just wants to spend time with us.
God is being loud and clear as He calls me into deeper relationship with Himself through the joy of living in answered prayers, the support of close friends and the way He uses the gifts of others such as authors to inspire my heart.