Don't you just love this picture of Elias? His family is blessing me by storing bags of stuffed animals we've purchased for our Operation Christmas Child packing party. When Elias's mom told me how excited he was about all those animals I suggested she ask him to pray and ask God to match each one with just the right child to receive it in his or her shoebox. And Elias did just that.
I've been thinking a lot about prayer over the past year or so and wondering at the mystery of it. How can I make my prayer more 'effectual' and 'fervent' as James 5:16 mentions?
Meanwhile, I'm amazed at how God answers even those casual prayers that seem anything but fervent. A few days ago I received a Facebook message from Kim who, with her husband and two young children, left a few months ago to serve as missionaries in Cameroon.
Kim wrote, "Really neat! We have friends over here that run a children's home. We have gone out there a few times. Thursday, Andrew and Emily went out for their kids' club. They got to witness the children receiving their Operation Christmas Child gifts. They said it was really neat!"
Last year Kim and her children faithfully worked to bag soap and make jump ropes for our packing party, and I was excited to hear they got to see shoeboxes being distributed. But it was hours later when I remembered that some months ago when I heard they were leaving for Cameroon I'd prayed for them to see some connection with Operation Christmas Child. I prayed a casual prayer-- once--maybe twice--and then never prayed again. Still, God remembered.
A few months ago as I was preparing to go speak at a church I realized I didn't own a skirt that could be paired with any of my OCC shirts, so I casually prayed for one. I forgot about that prayer until this week when I was working at a local clothing pantry and found a perfect skirt and brought it home. When I tried it on and discovered it fit perfectly I remembered my prayer and thanked God for His answer.
I was blessed with an email this morning from a young friend and prayer partner who blesses me in so many ways. Back in August I wrote a blog asking readers to pray for her dad who needed a job. (you can read that by clicking here.) Maybe you read that blog and stopped for a few seconds to pray. If you did, thank you, because in this morning's email my friend shared that after months of waiting and searching her dad just started his new job.
I have to admit I am not very organized when it comes to my prayer life. I don't keep a prayer journal to record each request. There are some heavy burdens I pray about nearly daily and even multiple times during my day. Some people I pray for regularly and some only when God brings them to mind.
And there are many of those casual prayers--so many I honestly don't even remember--the ones I pray so often as I scroll through Facebook. Though I am not always effectual or fervent in prayer, our faithful God still hears, remembers, and blesses more than I could possibly realize.
Even our casual prayers matter...
(sorry for this white background on the text...I've tried numerous times to fix it...if someone could tell me why this happens every time I copy and paste into Blogspot I'd be ever so grateful)