And this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord: when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” Joshua 4:5, 6, 7--You can read the context of this in Joshua 3.
A memorial is “something (as a monument) meant to keep remembrance alive.”
My family has several specific prayer requests for which we are praying. Some of them are personal; some involve the whole family; others have to do with people outside our family. But we are all praying fervently for these specific requests.
One request involves a very big desire that my 10-year-old daughter has. She has been praying for this specific thing for about two years. God has not yet seen fit to give her that desire of her heart. But she continues to pray faithfully.
A few days ago, she called me into her room and began to cry. She told me it seemed that God was not going to give to her that for which she is praying. She told me she was very discouraged.
I sat down and told her, “Debbie, do you want me to tell you a secret?” Her beautiful big brown eyes were filled with tears and she looked up at me. “Your ‘thing’ for which you are praying is not going to make you happy.” She looked at me in disbelief. I said, “Things do not make you happy. One of these days…and I do believe God is going to answer your prayer…you will have your ‘thing,’ and for a few days you will be so excited, and thrilled that you have received your ‘thing.’ But it will NOT make you happy. The newness of your ‘thing’ will wear off, and you’ll eventually get back into the hum-drum of daily responsibilities. But I’m going to tell you what WILL make you happy: the fact that God HEARD your prayer and ANSWERED your prayer. You’re going to look at your ‘thing’ that God has been so gracious to give you, and your heart is going to just FILL up with joy because you’re going to remember how long you prayed for it; and you’ll just be in awe that GOD heard and answered your prayer!”
One request that we have as a family is for God to allow us to make a trip next year to the States for a Family Conference in a Hispanic church. We have been praying and trying to save our money so we can make this trip.
That afternoon, I told Debbie, “You know, if God lets us make that trip to Chicago next year, we’re going to have a lot of fun, and we are going to get to meet new people and make a lot of memories. But that trip will be over and we’ll come back home. All we’ll have from that trip are pictures, a few souveniers, and some really great memories. But the thing that will make us the HAPPIEST is the fact that we prayed together and saw God provide the money and the time for us to be able to make that trip.”
Her heart was encouraged, as was mine.
When you pray…and you pray…and you continue to pray for a need, or for a lost loved one, or for a specific desire…you expect God to answer. And when He does, your faith grows; and your heart fills with joy over the fact that God in Heaven hears and answers prayer.
But that answered prayer becomes a memorial in your life and in your heart. It becomes a monument for all to see…that our prayers are not in vain. And when our children ask, “What does this mean?” we can testify to the fact that, as Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you…” (Joshua 3:10).
What a great testimony for our children to see us pray; and for the generations to come to know that we are trusting God to meet specific needs! And when He answers our prayer, and we see Him meet our need, we may all say, “May God be glorified, great things HE hath done!”