When my grandson, Jackson, was 4-years old he began to say his own prayers. No cookie-cutter, standard prayers for him! It was always fun (and still is!) to hear him bless the food. Sometimes it is quick, and sometimes he needs help wrapping it up. I especially remember the time his mom (my elder daughter, Kassie) whispered “In Jesus name” to him, letting him know it was time to draw the prayer to a close. To which he responded in a low, little angry voice, “I’m not ready for “Jesus name” yet!!!” and then kept right on with praying. He does not like to be rushed so we just let him pray, and pray, and pray and pray; we really don’t have a choice!
On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend of 2012 my family all gathered to have our last summer cookout. I was so excited to hear Jackson pray, and he was excited to offer the blessing. Everyone bowed their heads, and when he started we couldn’t hear anything! We each opened up our eyes and peeked at him, and that little squirt was whispering his prayer! We all tried to lean in a little closer, but to no avail. Kids! They are loud when you want them to be quiet, and quiet when you want them to be loud!!! It was quite a lengthy little personal prayer, and knowing how he does not like to be rushed, we just tried to listen to his whispers in hope we could make out something.
After whispering for a few minutes, Jackson says in a loud voice, “AND THE CROWD WENT WILD…in JESUS name…AMEN! And we all died laughing. It was the funniest thing we had ever heard, and it was so unexpected.
I am not quite sure what Jackson prayed for that day, but I do know this – whatever it was he expected God to do something so great that the “crowd will go wild”.
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV.
There are 2 things I love about this verse. For one, I love how the NASB says, “I will order my prayer to You.”
“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch”. Psalm 5:3 NASB
Not only do I love it because it hints at David having an organized format in which he offered his prayer, but it also reminds me of my initial thoughts of when my aunt gave me a two-column prayer journal. I wasn’t sure if I should write my prayer requests down because I wasn’t really sure that God answered my prayers, and did not want to provide the proof (Crazy, I know!). In the end, I decided that I did have faith that God does answer prayers, so I felt confident to proceed with laying them out for God in this order.
I was amazed when I saw God answering my prayers that week! It wasn’t that He only began answering my prayers when I began journaling, but that is when I began to SEE His answers. I’ve been hooked on this idea of structured prayer journaling ever since.
Have you considered ordering your prayers or laying out your requests before the Lord?
When we do, it demonstrates that we expect to finish “the rest of the story”. Since prayer journaling, I’ve been so humbled by God’s provision, mercy and faithfulness to my requests. In case you are wondering if David wrote down his prayers – of course, he did! What do you think the Psalms mostly contain? David’s conversations with God include praise, thanksgiving, repentance, inquiry and petitions to name a few.
Secondly, not only did David lay out his requests with order, but he also “waited with expectation” (NIV) and “eagerly watch[ed]” (NASB). Some translations of 1 Peter 4:7 ends with “and watch unto prayer” (KJB). Basically, David and Peter couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do with their prayer because they both knew He was going to do something!
The more I use the discipline of structured prayer journaling where I keep a succinct, written record of my praying life, the more I see God and the more I look to see Him move in my prayers. I have a great expectation that He.Will.Answer.Me! More than that, regardless of how God answers my prayers, I am in awe of His wisdom. The measure of God’s greatness is not marked by how many Yes’s I receive. I “go wild” over the wisdom I see in the Yeses, No’s and Wait!
Are you just throwing up your prayers to God, or are you expecting Him do great things?
For more prayer tips, click the links below:
Powerful Prayer Tip Tuesday – Stop the Threat of Haphazard Living
Powerful Prayer Tip Tuesday – Paradigm Shift
Organizing Your Prayer Closet book – full of prayer tips!
Gina Duke is the author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press). She would love to have you subscribe to her blog at GinaDuke.com. Look for her on Pinterest – Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke