This is the fifth and final part of our series called “Breaking Down Your Quiet Time.” This week we have been breaking down the daily sections in the Give Me Jesus Journal to help you better understand how to journal the Word and study Scripture. The new Give Me Jesus quiet time journal releases September 16th in the Well-Watered Women Co. We hope this series is edifying and encourages you to open the Word each day! (Note: You can use this daily breakdown in any journal if you are unable to purchase a Give Me Jesus Journal! Our mission is to equip you to study the Word, and we hope this makes that possible.)
Praying Bold Prayers
I met Emily* when I was pregnant with my first child. She worked at my chiropractor’s office, and we would often chat a little bit before and after my appointments. One day we got to talking about my pregnancy, and I asked her if she had any children.
“No,” she replied. She then shared with me that she didn’t know if she would ever be able to have children due to health reasons, but that she longed for a child. As she shared, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging my heart to pray for her. Because that isn’t something I would normally feel comfortable doing with someone I don’t know well, I was nervous. I also had no idea how she would respond. I didn’t pray for her that day, but knew I needed to the next time I saw her. I wrote in my prayer journal several days later, “I believe you are asking me to pray for Emily’s healing. It is scary, but I trust you. I believe that if you are placing this on my heart, you will not leave it void.”
The next day I went back to the office, and after my appointment, I returned to the front desk. With shaking knees I said, “Emily, can I pray for you? I’m a Christian, and I want to ask God if he would heal you and give you a child.” She said I could, so we prayed there together in the middle of the waiting room that sunny spring morning.
I went home knowing I would continue to pray for Emily. Not long afterward I stopped seeing that chiropractor, and just kept in touch loosely with Emily through social media. Two years later I received a message telling me she had just found out she was expecting. (Looking back at my journal I realized it was exactly two years to the day since I had prayed for her.) Tears streamed down my face as I thanked the Lord for answering this prayer. I marveled at the immense privilege of being a part of this incredible joy of seeing God do something the experts said would probably never happen.
This is one of many stories I could share of seeing God answer prayer in unbelievable ways as I’ve chosen to “pray big.” Asking God for big things is not something that comes easily to me. I would much rather praise him or ask for vague, general things. It’s hard to get specific. Why? Probably because of a lack of faith. “Will God really come through?” my fearful heart asks. But incredibly, the more I take the step of faith to ask and keep asking, the more my faith is grown because I see God do amazing things.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)
God is honored when we pray for seemingly impossible things (as well as seemingly small things). And he promises he will answer if we pray according to his will. It may not be on our timeline or in the way we thought he would answer, but he will answer (Matthew 21:22).
I love that the Give Me Jesus Journal has a place specifically designated for these prayers. This “Pray Big” section keeps prayer right in front of us, helping our eyes stay wide open for what God is doing and what he will do. The prayers and requests recorded in that space can then serve as stones of remembrance when he answers.
Here are three ways I’ve found, along with writing them down, to help me continually keep those “Pray Big” requests front-and-center in my mind and heart.
God is not afraid of specific prayers. He is a God of infinite power and wisdom, and can do anything. He invites us to come boldly before his throne with our requests, seeking his help (Hebrews 4:16). He wants us to pray about everything.
Start with one or two burdens that are on your heart, and write those down. Then commit to praying for those specific things until you see God answer. Remember, his answer may look different than you expect. But God’s ways are higher and greater than ours (Isaiah 55:9), and he can see the beginning from the end. So we can trust him completely.
Persistence is a weakness of mine. I feel brave if I ask for something (not just in prayer) one, maybe two times. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about prayer, it’s that I cannot stop after one or two times. I have to keep going back and back and back again. I need to be like the prophet Elijah when he prayed again and again for rain until he saw evidence of it, because he trusted God’s promise (1 Kings 18:41–45). Persistence does something beautiful in us. It stirs a greater and greater urgency and longing to see God’s kingdom come and his will be done (Matthew 6:10). And it keeps our minds and hearts wide awake as we wait for the Lord to answer.
Author and prayer warrior E.M. Bounds said, “I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God.” So, be persistent. Keep bringing your petition to the Lord in humility and faith. He delights to answer.
Pray with praise.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
It can be easy when we feel burdened to become anxious about it or desperate for the answer we want. But when we intentionally choose to praise God along with our asking, it keeps our minds and hearts fixed on the truth of who he is and what he has done. Thanksgiving keeps us rejoicing in the goodness of God even when our circumstances are hard or painful. It keeps us focused more on what we know to be true than what we wish were happening. It reminds us just how faithful God has been for us in thousands of ways, and keeps us anticipating the ways he will continue to be faithful to us.
Praise drives away doubt and fear, and readies our hearts to receive God’s answers to our prayers—however that may look. It takes intentionality, especially when life is really tough or we are needing to wait a long time for answers. Focus specifically on what you can praise God for along with bringing your request before him, and then leave that petition in his faithful hands.
He Delights to Answer
Friend, God delights to answer prayer. It’s so easy to forget this simple truth in the midst of the distractions and cares of this life. But he is inviting us into something incredibly and infinitely precious in allowing us to commune with him in prayer. The spiritual discipline of prayer is an essential part of feasting on the Word and spending daily time with our Heavenly Father. The “Pray Big” section of the Give Me Jesus Journal may come last in the daily breakdown, but it is certainly not least important. And it does not end when you close your Bible and your journal! God invites his people to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Don’t be afraid to bring all your requests and burdens and joys and sorrows before him as you “pray big.” And then, watch what our great God will do.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20–21
*Story shared with permission
Your Friend, Heather
Heather Cofer lives in Windsor, CO with her husband and four little kiddos. She is a writer for the ministry of Set Apart Girl and loves spending time doing life-on-life discipleship with other women. Her book Expectant: Cultivating a Vision for Christ-Centered Pregnancy released this year. She enjoys playing piano, modern calligraphy, sipping coffee with her husband, frost-covered trees, and laughter with friends. She has a heart for overseas missions, having grown up on the mission field (where she met her husband), and where both their parents still serve.