He Answers: [The Prayer I Forgot]

He Answers: [The Prayer I Forgot]

A few weeks ago, over an emotional conversation, I told a friend, "I'm surprised I'm not crying right now. I've cried, or at least teared up, pretty much every day for the past few months."

And it’s true.
The hard of the past year has brought me to a place where tears seem as though they are ready and waiting at any moment. I never was that person: a crier. I never was her.
But now, maybe I am.

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The next day, sitting on my couch, reading a book about how God does what He says He will do, about how God always answers prayers, I teared up again. That all too familiar burning behind my eyelids and simultaneous hardening in my throat. I closed my eyes and let the emotion rise. And fall.

It often happens that way. The saddness rising, full and intense, and then, nearly as quickly, it begins to fade leaving only a dampness in my eyes and ache in my heart.

I sighed.
There it was for today.
Would I ever again make it through I day without tears?

But at the same time this thought sighed its way through my tired brain, I turned my focus to noticing.
Noticing the tears.
Noticing the sudden surge of emotion.
Noticing the when and the how and knowing that if I noticed and waited, just maybe the Holy Spirit would whisper the why into my heart.

And in this moment, He did.

I don’t remember quite when, so maybe it was just always this way, but I learned to be pretty good at holding my tears. Holding on to them till a more appropriate time. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that the problem with tears is that they don’t work like this.

Emotions surge at times I often expect them the least and if I don’t allow myself to feel them in the moment, they often never come at all.

I held in tears over my grandfathers death so many times, that when the funeral finally came, and it was “time” to cry, I couldn’t. I still have never cried over his death.

As years have passed, I’ve grown to hate this part of myself. And more than a few times, I’ve found myself pleading with God that He teach me to cry. That He would allow me to release the emotions bottled up inside me at the right times.

I’ve begged Him to grant my heart the release and relief of tears.

I want to cry in joy and in pain. I want to cry for myself and I want to cry with others. I want tears to come and I want them to mean that I’m letting down my walls, the ones I’ve built so high and strong.

I noticed and I waited. And He answered.

”This is what you prayed for.” He whispered. I’m answering.”

The tears filled my eyes again.

And once again, I knew that He answers. That He really, truly, absolutely, completely, for sure answers prayers.

I used to think that if I felt nothing, saw no answer, heard no voice during prayer or immediately after, then it meant the prayer was answered no. Maybe I didn’t consciously think that, but I felt it deep down, and I often lived like it was true.

The tearing of this past year and the chronicling of when He speaks has shown me a truth I never really saw before.

He answers.

God answers prayer.
He does.
He really truly does.

The reason we miss it so often is that by the time our answer does come, we’ve forgotten that we prayed for it in the first place. And so we don’t notice.

But if we take the time to make note and take note and notice, we will find that God answers prayers all the time.
He really does.

I think I first prayed for tears in high school, over ten years ago. And once again, I’m tearing up just writing these words, because the realization that He answers is simply so overwhelming.

It’s not often immediate.
It’s sometimes different than how I imagine.
But it is real. He answers.

And on a random Tuesday, early in the Christmas season, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart to remind me that my tears were an answered prayer.

Be blessed

What It Means to Worship: {Lessons on Responding to Answered Prayer}

I don’t remember what I was doing when I heard it, but the message was clear.

“When I answer all your prayers, worship Me.”

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It caught me by surprise. But at the same time, I was praying for answers.
For guidance.
For proof we were still on the right path.
For proof we were still following His call and not just blindly stumbling around on our own trying to make things work.

“When I answer all your prayers, worship Me.”

I felt so many emotions surging almost simultaneously.

Joy that He was listening.
Joy that He was going to answer.
Joy that He spoke to me.
Joy that I had something to do, some clear directive on what to do next.

Frustration that He wasn’t actually answering any of my prayers yet.
Frustration that He didn’t say if we were doing or pursing the right things.
Frustration that He didn’t say when this was going to happen.

Relief that it isn’t up to us.
Relief that He would be the one to do it, so all we had to do was worship.
Relief that I heard Him so clearly.

As these emotions washed over me and back again, a question began growing in me.

”Okay God. You said to worship You when You answer our prayers. What does that actually look like?”

I knew that worship wasn’t only singing songs with my hands raised on Sunday mornings. I knew that it was something I needed to do with my whole life. Honoring Him through my actions and words and decisions.

But to worship Him for something specific…
What did that mean?
What is that supposed to look like?

So I started praying some more.

It’s amazing how so often the answers God gives me when I pray, push me to praying even more…to seeking Him and pressing into Him all the harder.

Asking over and over, searching lives and stories around me, I struggled to understand how to worship God in this way.

Slowly, quietly, a few things have presented themselves.

First, I can worship God through prayer.

I can literally sit down or stand up or kneel on the ground and use my voice to out loud tell God, “Thank you. I worship You. You did this and I acknowledge that it was You, not me, and I praise You for it.”

Second, I can tell others.

I can use my actual voice to boldly proclaim to people in my real life, “I asked God for this and He answered. I prayed for this and here is how He came through for me.”

Third, I can take hold of the evidence of God’s goodness for me and allow it to fill me further with hope and faith in Him.

I can tell God and others of His goodness and faithfulness and then go right back to my worrying ways about the next problem in my life. Or I can choose to rejoice in the goodness and kindness He has shown me and then hold fast to Him no matter how difficult and painful and broken the rest of my life is.

As I type these words out, my heart is drawn into rejoicing and praise once again, because these things listed above, they are the answers to my prayer. The prayer that said, ”God, teach me how to worship You.”

But before He showed me those things I listed above, He showed me something much deeper.

If I want to worship Him for answering my prayers, I have to to notice when He does.

There have been so many times in my life that I have prayed and prayed for something, only to fail to notice when He answers, or to barely acknowledge it when I do notice.

We cannot worship Him and give Him the glory and honor for what He does in our lives if we fail to, or refuse to, notice the things He does.

I’ve gotten distracted, forgotten to persevere in prayer, and subsequently not even noticed when the prayer was later answered.

I’ve been so excited when He answers my prayers that I run around telling everyone I know what a huge blessing God gave us, and never stopped to tell God how thankful I am.

I’ve been so fixated on the bigger and scarier problems in my life that I refuse to worship God when He answers in the little ways, simply because I’m angry that He isn’t answering the big ways.

Missing any step in the chain will hinder me from being able to worship God, to give Him the glory, for what He is doing in my life.

I must simply do the work of praying, noticing, and worshiping God for His work in me.

It comes down to that. To the day in and day out of staying in close relationship and communication with God, no matter how loud or quiet He seems. He will follow through on His end. I must follow through on mine.

Intimacy in Prayer

“God is the most important part of the Gospel. And that is why prayer is so awesome. We get to access God, Himself.”
Pastor Daniel Williams

“God is the most important.”

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And I’m stuck by how often I forget this. It becomes about the praying, the reading, the serving, the giving… It so quickly becomes about the stuff and the doing instead of the One we are giving to and doing for.

It reminds me of early on in our marriage when we were having an at-home date night. I spent all afternoon cooking a fancy meal and setting the table just right. I wanted the perfect fancy home date for my husband, but by the time we sat down to eat, I was stressed and tired. There was a still a kitchen full of dishes to take care of, and I didn’t enjoy our date night or my husband.

I had made it about the stuff, about the doing for my husband instead of about my husband himself. From that time on, I’ve carefully considered how I spend my day before we go on a date or spend time together. I want to enjoy my husband and be enjoyable to him and connect with him personally, not waste all my energy on doing things for him.

And it’s the same in my walk with God. There are days I find myself drowning in the do more, try harder life, and when I look deep, I realize that I’m not enjoying God. In those moments, I wonder how to find release. How do I keep serving and giving and loving and reading and praying, but change the why?

Because the doing is good…so good and so important. But without the right motives, the right why, it’s meaningless in the end.

So I wonder, how do I change my why?

And I’m quickly reminded that all of this stuff and activity is about a relationship…a personal, intimate relationship with God.

“God is the most important part of the Gospel. And that is why prayer is so awesome. We get to access God, Himself.”
Pastor Daniel Williams

When I’m finding myself overwhelmed with doing for God and failing to connect with God, prayer is the first place I turn. Because usually, somewhere along the line, I’ve turned prayer into a box to check instead of a conversation with the One who loves me.

It’s a beautiful thing to realize afresh that I can pour out every thought and worry and question and joy and agony of my heart to God. He wants to hear every little thing hanging heavy on my heart and mind.

I can come to him in tears, in joys, in worries, in pain, in fear, in truth, in sin, in expectation, in suffering, in questioning, in anger… 

He has born the sins of the world, so surely He can bear the weight of our worries and our fears.

But as I come to Him in truth and honesty, as I pour out my heart to Him, I need to listen to what He would say to me in return. When I do, I will find Him calming me, restoring me, loving me, and forgiving me. Though I might not feel His hand immediately, I am strengthened with the knowledge the He hears and He cares and He is good.

It is in talking with God through prayer that I find intimacy with Him renewed and restored and my faith in His care and goodness restored.

And I find myself returning again to this truth…

“God is the most important part of the Gospel. And that is why prayer is so awesome. We get to access God, Himself.”
Pastor Daniel Williams

Be blessed

Day 30: I am Not Awesome

{This post is part of my 31 Day blog series Work Hard + Rest Well: Learning Obedience in the Rhythms of Work and Rest.}
Two days ago, while driving home from my last tutoring appointment in the nearly darkness of a beautiful day, I started to pray. And I started with the yuck, just spilling my frustrations out to God.

This series came when I needed it most. But it hasn’t gotten easier this month. It’s gotten worse.


I’ve been less intentional.
I’ve been more tired.
I’ve been struggling to work.
I’ve been struggling to rest.
And I’ve felt a mounting sense of guilt the whole time.

So I poured out to God in the car that evening…“I’m failing at the things that I’m telling people to do. You’ve taught me all these things this year and I can’t even live them out. What’s wrong with me? What am I missing? I’m such a hypocrite. If they knew…”

And suddenly He spoke…so gently, but so clearly.
“You can come to Me for help.”

My heart and my mind stopped short.
That was what I had been missing.

I’d been trying to Him for rest and I’d been attempting to work for His glory but I’d been doing it all in my own strength. And the words of Sunday’s sermon flooded my mind again…

“Jesus is AWESOME. I am NOT awesome.”
Jason Sanchez

And when you realize that you don’t have to do it on your own, you find an incredible peace and freedom.

I’ve encouraged you and I’ve encouraged myself to work hard and to rest well and to be intentional, but I haven’t reminded us to pray. And without the strength of God’s Spirit working in us, all our best efforts will fail.

Because I struggled through this month so much, when God spoke to me two nights ago, it hit me hard. I needed His strength and help so desperately this whole time, and I didn’t see it.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that we can work hard and rest well on our own. Instead let’s humble ourselves to pray for God’s strength.


Pray daily.
Pray hourly.
Pray hard.
Pray humbly.
Pray for help and strength and discipline.
And when He answers and our lives begin to show the fruit of God center rhythms of work and rest, the glory will only be His. Because if we’re asking for His strength, we won’t be able to claim any of the glory.

Let’s pray.

Be blessed

When He Answers: {Praying for the Little Things}

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”Matthew 10:29


I throw up dozens of hurried, little prayers every day.

“Help me get all these things done.”
“Give me strength to get through this tutoring appointment.”
“Help me to not say something I’ll regret.”
“Show me how to help this student.”
“Help me not be stressed right now.”
“Give me words to encourage this friend.”
“Help me make it to this event on time.”
“Give my husband peace of mind and a good night of sleep.”

In moments of haste and anxiety and frustration, the prayers fly quickly and desperately from my lips.




Just a few weeks ago, He nudged my heart and pointed out the number of prayers I pray and then forget. Because if I am to bring Him glory in everything, then when He answers even the simplest prayer, why don’t I take the time to thank Him for that? And I suddenly saw the frailty of my faith.

When He gives me the strength in a difficult tutoring appointment…
When He helps me sleep well at night…
When He gives me a way to get through to that difficult student…
When He helps me drive calmly in traffic and arrive just in time…
When that conversation I was so nervous about goes so well…
…do I take the time to give Him thanks?

Sometimes I brush off His help as coincidence or give credit my own skill or simply wonder if that was really Him that helped…and it hit me hard, when I realized how small my faith is to even think to give credit elsewhere. Yet I’ve done it over and over.

In the narrow-mindedness of our humanity, it can seem simple or silly to give Him credit for those little things...for the safe trips and the words to say and the rain stopping and the good night’s sleep and the traffic clearing.

And yet His hand is in it all…
Because He cares.
Because He listens.
Because He powerful.
Because He loves us.

And my faith is so small when I fail to give Him credit.
And when given the choice why not choose faith and thankfulness?

So I’m learning to take note of the prayers I throw heavenward in desperate moments. And I’m learning to give thanks for the answers, whatever answer He sends. And I’m choosing to have faith that He does care and that His hand is in it all…however silly it seems from my earth-bound perspective.

And I’m learning to approach His throne with reverence and thanksgiving…even with the little things.

Be blessed

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