When We Forget to Remember


Nestled between Bibles and bestsellers on our family bookshelf, a blue pleather-bound notebook holds a treasure trove of God’s faithfulness.

For five years, my role in our women’s small group was to record prayer requests in this old journal. We gathered in my family room twice a month on Thursday evenings, sinking into couches with the heaviness of the week, cradling cups of hot tea, and grazing on popcorn and cookies.

Each woman shared the goings-on, struggles, needs, and praises in her life, and I later compiled them into an email for the group to pray over that week.

There were praises filled with gratitude:
For the birth of healthy babies.
For career moves.
For miraculous healing.
For relational breakthroughs.
For long-awaited marriages.

We easily celebrated God’s faithfulness in these moments.

There were also prayers filled with longing:
For babies to be conceived.
For bodies to heal.
For relationships to strengthen.
For travels to be safe.
For sleep to be found.
For the ones we love to know the Lord.
For patience, trust, gratitude, humility.
For His presence “even if.”

I can still feel the weight of desperation and see the tear-streaked faces that accompanied those heart-wrenching pleas.

In my own insecurity, I would often lie in bed after one of our gatherings, reflecting on what I asked for in prayer. I thought, “I’m the only one. The only one with this struggle, the only one grasping for answers. They’ve got it figured out.”

But when I flipped through the pages of my dear friends’ vulnerable words, I realized how much I’d forgotten. And I was reminded of two truths.

One: my friends had been there.

They had waited for answered prayers, doubted their parenting, battled through sleep and potty training, and voiced unkind words in moments of exhaustion to the people they love the most. There were those who went before me and those who would follow in this shared human experience.

Two: God was with us the whole time.

Reflecting on five years of prayers gave me an eye-opening lens of the big picture. I was reminded that God was always listening and always answering: yes, no or not now. Even the heartache from some of the “no’s” and “not-now’s” evolved over months and years into something more beautiful than we could’ve imagined.

When we forget to remember, we fall back on fears that God’s not listening. Our view narrows and lingers on the one thing we think He’s not doing or hearing in this season. But remembering His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of others strengthens our faith and renews our hope in this present season of praying and waiting.

In a handful of times, I forgot the notebook at our biweekly meetings.

I scribbled prayers on the back of my study notes instead, but I made sure to rewrite the words between the blue pleather covers for posterity.

There was something precious and sacred about having all the prayers in one place, a written history of peaks and valleys that breathed with His presence and goodness.

For our new prayers and for those from years ago that feel like they linger in a holding pattern, we can find peace in remembering what God did then and what good He is doing now in our “no’s” and “not now’s.”

Great is His faithfulness.


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