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People mention the topic of faith to me quite often.  Obviously, this is due to what we are going through with Trey.  I/we get it.  To a lessor degree, prayer comes up as well.  More often than not it’s them letting us know that they are praying for us.  We greatly appreciate that more than you ever know.  However, one thing doesn’t come up very often.

Within the topic of prayer, there is very little discussion (outside of new Christians) about different ways to pray.  I’d like to share with you something that might be fun and very helpful for you.  The hidden beauty of it is that it very well may increase your faith as well as cover the things for which you are praying.  In no way, shape, or form is it an exclusive way to pray.  It is not “better” than any other.  It’s just different, helpful, and to a degree, fun.

I don’t know where I learned this.  I don’t know where it came from.  I do know that it was brilliant.  I do know that it works…well, worked at least.  I could give you a  biblical background and theological defense (full disclosure, it would take me awhile) but rather than that I will simply let you know about it.  If you don’t like it…well, don’t do it.

The result is faith, the vehicle is prayer.  So here’s what you do.  As a “faith exercise” for lack of a better term, keep a prayer journal that looks like this.  If you have something you want, would like to see, need an answer to, whatever, write it down in your journal.  Now, here’s the essential part.  Write it down with these characteristics.

1.  It must be able to be answered by God with either a “yes” or “no”.

2.  It must, therefor, be measurable.

3.  One of the most important measurable components  is an end date.

4.  Really make sure that you leave no wiggle room.  Either God answers your prayer with a yes…or a no.

5.  Then, if He answers it yes, number it.  If He answers with a no, draw a line through it or just write “NO” over it.

6.  Do this for a period of time (3 months, 6 months, a year…whatever).

7.  Feel free if you get a “no” to pray for it again for another time period.

8.  Pray for your list as often as you’d like/feel lead.

Here’s what some of those prayers would look like.

I need a new job by October 1st.  I need it to pay $30,000/yr.

I pray that my dental visit results in 0 cavities.

I pray that I get into this college/program/whatever/promotion where I just applied.

I pray that I get a date with “insert name here” by the end of this month.

I pray that great great great grandpa Jenkins makes it to and stays alive through the zucchini festival this summer.

I pray that my kids don’t wake me once tonight.

It can be everything from “I pray that it doesn’t rain when we go to Kennywood this Friday” to “I pray that Trey’s scan comes back miraculously clear this October.”  It doesn’t matter.

Then, here’s what happens down the road.  You get a sense of where God is going and to a large (if not larger) extent where your heart and mind is compared to God.

Mind you one of the main reasons why we pray is to discover God’s will and to follow it.  It is not to impose our will upon God and hold our “faith” over his head like a threat.  No one really does that on purpose (I’d hope) but in a way they do.  “Lord, please remove this x, y, z from my life.”  When it doesn’t go away they check out and ignore God for awhile.  This is a way to see if you are tracking with what God is doing in your life, what He wants for you, and to just be clear about it.  Can it be manipulated?  Sure.  You could pray, “Lord, I pray that I wake up tomorrow.”  You do that for 365 days and your overall % is going to be higher than if you didn’t.  Whatever.

I did this twice for a year at a time.  The first year I had somewhere near 106 prayers answered with yes.  There were around 20 no’s.  The second year, I bombed out.  Frankly, I don’t think I made it through the year.  I think at one point it was 12 yes’ and 45 no’s.  I’m pretty sure I bailed and quit.

Here’s the amazing part.  I did this over 20 years ago.  Looking back, there wasn’t one “no” that I got that today I wish was a yes.  Not one.  Granted, nobody in my world was sick or dying but I prayed for some big time things and some really trivial things (ok, a lot of relationship type things dominated my prayers but I digress).

I began to “connect the dots.”  As time went on I realized that God really was in control.  I also came to some degree of understanding that I could trust Him.  It made sense that He did know more than me.  Did my faith really grow through this?  I guess so.  Looking backwards I just can’t deny His provision, direction, and love for me.  That continue to this day.


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