Remembering God’s grace
Recalling our prayers allows us to thank God for answered prayer
The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. — F.B. Meyer
In Luke 17, ten lepers cried out to Jesus for mercy (v. 13). In a sense, you could say that they prayed. Jesus responded immediately by saying, “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (v. 14, NASB)—if a leper was cleansed, it had to be verified by a priest (Leviticus 14).
Without hesitation, the lepers obeyed Jesus. They believed and were cleansed as they went. What faith! Yes, all were healed, but one did something more. Realizing he had been healed and knowing who had answered his prayer, he turned around and showed gratitude and worship to Jesus (vv. 15-16).
We need to remember our prayers so we can thank God when He answers. It’s interesting that this man was a Samaritan, a foreigner (vv. 16, 18). God is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 KJV). He is willing to answer anyone’s prayer.
Our prayers and God’s answers
God does answer our prayers, but not always as immediately as He did with the lepers. Here is a personal example.
In 1978, I had asked God to meet all my needs while I was preparing to come back to Japan. But at the start of December, I still didn’t have the money for my final payment of $35 to the seminary. I had sold my bike, stereo, and almost everything else except my books, but I didn’t have enough money. Then, in Student Missionary Union chapel, they announced that every semester a student planning to be a missionary was awarded a small amount of money. And that semester, the student was Ken Reddington. I received $50.
Maybe you would have just received it with thanks. But I asked God, “Why the extra money?” However, I needed to get from Portland to San Francisco for my plane to Tokyo. One of my roommates, going to southern California, offered to take me to the airport. He asked for $12 in gas money. So I landed at Kochi Airport with $3 in my pocket (¥1,080 at the time). God had met all my needs, even the ones I didn’t know about.
God does answer our prayers. But often, He is more concerned with changing me than He is in changing my circumstances. And sometimes, God’s working in our heart is so subtle we can barely tell that He is changing us. But when we do realize His work, we must fall at His feet in thanksgiving and praise.
Remembering what God has done
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:2 NASB).
We tend to forget that God is behind every good thing. So how can we remember better? In Joshua 4:19-24, it says Israel often made monuments to remind them of what God had done for them. But it doesn’t have to be a pile of rocks. It can be a tree, a flower, a book—whatever you choose.
We can also write our prayers in a notebook. Then when He answers, we write the date and how He answered. Of course, sometimes He changes our hearts so we don’t want what we asked for anymore.
With our children we can, as the Israelites did, make our prayers and God’s answers a part of our family history, or even our own personal history (see Josh. 4:24), by continuing to tell the stories of how God answered our prayers.
Thanking God for what He has done
As we remember our prayers, we can thank Him. We can even thank Him before He answers—when we pray (Phil. 4:6). Then, we can thank Him when He answers—if it’s recorded, that’s easier to do so. And we can thank Him after He answers—by remembering.
So let us pray—let us remember and let us thank God. We need to remember our prayers so we can thank Him. It will increase our faith and help us to know God better.