A few years ago, when we were walking through the book of Genesis during a sermon series, we studied how Abraham would pause to build altars and remember all that God had done in the past. Throughout Scripture, we see a pattern of the Israelites recounting the awe-inspiring miracles that God performed for them time and time again. Throughout that series, I began to realize the importance of pausing to recount all that God has done for me, because I realized that I often prayed for things but rarely returned to thank God or even remember how He answered that prayer only a few days later.
In our fast-paced, technology-filled world, it can be difficult to find truly quiet places and periods of time to sit and marinate in what God has done and is doing, yet in Isaiah 46:8-10, God commands His children to remember.
“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”
Now, we might ask ourselves, “What benefit can be drawn from remembering? Wasn’t the Bible written a long time ago and weren’t these verses meant for the Jewish nation?”
Since that sermon series a couple of years ago, I developed a restlessness in my soul that led to an intentional journey of pause and reflection. There are many benefits that can come from pausing to remember what God has done for the nation of Israel, as well as, what He has done in your personal life.
First, by recognizing what He has done for the Israelites, we see God’s character. We see His ultimate power and authority over His creation when He parted the sea, turned water into blood, rained manna on His people, and flooded the earth, just to name a few. We see how God’s love and mercy persisted even as His chosen people disobeyed, whined, and committed violent acts against one another. They were to be the nation that all other nations could look at to see God and worship Him. This persistent love and mercy brought Christ to earth so His people would receive salvation and have an example of righteous living. And when the Jews rejected Christ, He was faithful and extended His love and mercy to all nations.
Second, when we pause and reflect on what God has done in our lives and learn about His character, it leads to recognition of sins, repentance, and worship. It enables us to take a wholistic look at our lives to see who we were before we placed our trust and faith in Jesus and who we are now. We can identify where the Holy Spirit has convicted us, our response to that conviction, and the change that has taken place over time, even if that change is small and has taken time to develop. Once we realize change has taken place, and that the change was not of our own doing, it leads us to worship God. When I took time to reflect on what God has done in my life, it was a beautiful time of thanksgiving and gratitude. Taking time to think through the ways the Lord had answered my prayers allowed me to see His faithfulness, the love He has for me, the reason He answered the way He did, and His character.
Third, as we see God’s character revealed in our lives, it makes Scripture come alive. As I spent intentional time praying about what God has done, I experienced the God of the Bible in a more intimate way. I learned more about God’s will, and it became easier to accept His answer to my prayers, especially when it was not the answer I was expecting or hoping for. In fact, most of my requests became for His will to be done. Throughout Scripture, God has proven Himself faithful to His promises. By trusting in His promises, it became easier to trust His will. I have found more freedom by trusting in Him for all things, big and small, because His will is the best way every single time. When we align our hearts with God, everything else falls in line.
Fourth, returning to thank Him for answered prayers is a form of worship. We glorify God when we acknowledge what He has done, and we humble ourselves when we realize we couldn’t have done it on our own. We exalt His name when we recognize that He is the one who has the power to do it, and we submit ourselves to His authority.
So, if you have ever struggled with feeling like God is distant or you can’t hear God, spend some time in prayer and give this a try. I pray that it works for you like it did for me. All praise to Jesus’.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples. Psalm 77:11-14