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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Questions to Help Us Notice and Celebrate Answers to Prayer.

For the last few months we at imagine/Northampton have adopted the practice in worship of marking and celebrating answers to prayer in a visible way. The idea is not original to us. At the first part of our gathering, in the section where we focus on prayer, I ask people to tell us of how God answered what they prayed for during the week, or what we previously prayed for together. I hold a slender glass container. When they tell us, they come forward and put in a colorful marble for each answer. It is our way of acknowledging God really answers prayer. We celebrate his faithfulness and goodness as the weeks go by and the jar gradually fills: a visible, playful reminder of God's gracious care for us. It builds faith and a thankful heart.

So as I was thinking about this earlier this morning, I thought it helpful to list a handful of reflection questions so you can regularly notice the myriad ways God answers your prayers. It will help all of us not slip into the take-for-granted posture we can so easily settle into concerning God's astonishing faithfulness to us. Perhaps we can think of this remembering as a spiritual discipline, a way of paying repeated attention to the gracious activity of God on our behalf. Noticing him is always beneficial and freeing.

Copy the questions and use them weekly as a discipline of remembering to cultivate a deep heart of gratitude and praise. Such gratitude and praise should grow into another WAY OF LIFE spiritual practice.

12 QUESTIONS:

  1. What daily needs should I acknowledge and celebrate today, for example: a full stomach, clothes on my back, being protected as I slept, having transportation, work to do, friends, the ability to think, health, a roof over my head, clean water, etc.
  2. What problem did God solve or help solve for me this week?
  3. Who did he help recently in answer to my/our prayer together?
  4. Where did he open my eyes to something I didn't see before?
  5. How did he keep me from making a real mess of something today or this week?
  6. Where did he keep me from harm this week?
  7. Did he heal me or someone I love in answer to my/our prayer?
  8. Did he answer a prayer I've been praying for a long time?
  9. Did he answer my work-related prayer?
  10. Did he provide for me in a way I've been praying about?
  11. Did he free me from something I have been struggling with or bothered by, a sin entangling me?
  12. Did he sustain me in an important or vital activity?
Do this daily or a few times a week for 6 weeks and see how it opens you to the wonder of God who answers prayer, sustaining your life in abundant grace and help. You might be amazed.

Consider buying a tall glass container and some colorful marbles to keep in your home to facilitate remembering and celebrating God.

May you notice afresh the magnificent care of God over your life and those you pray for. May you open more and more to the lavish generosity of God who attends continually to his world, and your place in it. May you be genuinely astonished by his daily faithfulness. May peace abide in you because your God never sleeps and always works for your freeing blessing and his glory in your life.
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